Did San Bernardino, California’s Kevin Ray James shoot Western Financial Bank teller Monica Leech in 1997?

Kevin Ray James, 55, of San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California, United States is accused of fatally shooting Monica Lynne Leech of Camarillo, Ventura County, California. She died on April 28, 1997 at age 39.

At 10:20 a.m. that day, James and another man allegedly went into Western Financial Bank in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County where Leech was working as a bank teller. With nylon stockings over their faces and disguised as construction workers, the two men allegedly stole $11,000.


James allegedly fatally shot Leech in the back of the head before he and the other robber fled the scene. The two men drove away in a 1994 Ford Explorer, crashed and ran away.

However, authorities were not able to identify the suspects and the case went cold. At the time, James was allegedly a gang member based in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.


In 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $30,000 reward for information in the case. In the same year, the cold case unit of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office reopened the case.

Advances in deoxyribonucleic acid testing allowed investigators to evaluate evidence again for laboratory analysis. It eventually linked James to the case.

On March 9, 2023, James was arrested in San Bernardino and booked into the Ventura County Jail in Ventura, Ventura County. He was charged with first-degree murder in commission of robbery and using a firearm in the commission of the offense.

Meanwhile, the second suspect has yet to be identified. There is a $30,000 award from the FBI and another $100,000 reward from Crimestoppers for information on that suspect.

Anyone with information about the murder of Monica Leech or the second suspect is asked to contact the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office at 805-383-8704 or

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