Monterey County

UPDATE: Services announced for slain pastor

Police: Pastor stabbed by parishioner

Man accused of killing Salinas...

SALINAS, Calif. - UPDATE 3/17/17 12:04 p.m.: During a 1:30 p.m. court appearance in Salinas on Thursday, suspect Servando Silva plead not guilty to the murder of Pastor Herb Valero.

The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said the case has been continued until March 30 at 8:30 a.m. for further setting of proceedings.

UPDATE 3/16/2017 5:45 p.m.: Close friends of slain Herb Valero have announced funeral services for the slain pastor. 

Community advocate Brian Contreras and Salinas Council Member Tony Barrera both said services will be next Wednesday at Compass Church in Salinas. It's slated to begin at 10 a.m., according to Contreras.

UPDATE 3/16/17 11:22 a.m.: Suspect Servando Silva was in a Monterey County courtroom Thursday morning for his arraignment. He's accused of killing Victory Outreach Pastor Herbert Valero Tuesday night.

UPDATE 3/15/2017 9:15 p.m.: A Salinas pastor is dead after police say he was stabbed by a fellow parishioner during a prayer.

Salinas police say 68-year-old Herbert Valero, a pastor at Victory Outreach Church in Salinas, planned to meet with a parishioner, identified as Servando Ayala Silva at his home on Verona Court Tuesday night.

Silva was having personal problems and wanted spiritual advice from the longtime pastor. Yet, it's unclear what turned this call for help into a cold-blooded killing."Leading into this, it does not appear there was any reason to have seen this coming," said Salinas Police Commander Stan Cooper.

What the two men discussed was unclear, but what has been revealed was that during the course of the conversation, Valero was stabbed with something described as a drywall saw. Moments later, Valero went back into the house, holding his neck, saying he was stabbed by Silva. Family members called 911 and officers arrived immediately.

"His health was failing and they attempted CPR and unfortunately they were unsuccessful," Cooper said.
Valero was pronounced dead at the scene.

Silva fled the scene in a truck. Police contacted some of his family members to make sure they were OK and asked them to call authorities if he returned.

Silva went to one family member's home but left by the time authorities arrived. He went to another relative's home, where police arrested him without incident.Silva is facing one count of murder. He does have a criminal background, dating back to 2001. News of Valero's death spread quickly throughout the community. Friends described him as calm, patient and always helping others, from the homeless to former gang members and drug addicts.

Local community advocate Brian Contreras has known "Pastor Herb" for at least 28 years. He said Valero served on his board of his Second Chance Youth Program in Salinas.

"I was shocked, you know, I really didn't know exactly what had happened yet," Contreras said. "Then when I started reading the report, I just, it kind of blew me away, no words."

On Wednesday when KION went to the Valero home, we found Cesar Blakeney and several others cleaning up the property for Pastor Herb's family. They say his death is a monumental loss for Salinas."He was always willing to help out people on the streets," Blakeney said. "It's like us men at the men's home, we're drug addicts, gang bangers and we're all messed up but you know, he had reached out to us and he gave us a better look at life."

Wednesday night, dozens of people showed up at the Victory Outreach Church on San Juan Road to remember Pastor Herb during a service.

Pastor David "Dell" Castro recounted growing up with Valero in Riverside, both being involved in bad things growing up. He said they both changed their lives and began making positive change in their communities. He believed Pastor Herb would forgive his alleged killer.

"I believe what Pastor Herb would have them know is that he loves them and he was reaching out to their son and he loves them and he would say to all of us.. to forgive.. forgive and love," Castro said.

Valero's death marks the tenth homicide in Salinas this year.


Salinas police are investigating the city's tenth homicide of 2017. Police say 68-year-old Herbert Valero, a pastor for the Victory Outreach Church in Salinas, was stabbed in the neck by a fellow parishioner just before 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

It happened outside of a home on the 1500 block of Verona Court.

The pastor told his family he'd be outside praying with 37-year-old Servando Ayala Silva.

Moments later, Valero ran back inside the home with a stab wound to his neck.

Emergency personnel arrived promptly but Valero was pronounced dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, Silva fled but was later arrested without incident at a family member's home.

He was taken to the Monterey County Jail and booked on Homicide charges.

Police say the motive is currently unknown but do not believe the incident was gang related.

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