Tulare County Judge sentences Noah Fox, 23, to life in prison for 2017 fatal drug robbery in Visalia
VISALIA – Noah Fox was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder with special circumstances.
Fox, 23, was first found guilty on April 7, 2022 for the 2017 fatal shooting of Terry Wade III, 19, during a drug robbery in Visalia. After almost six years, a Tulare County judge sentenced Fox to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Jan. 13.
According to the Tulare County District Attorney’s (DA) office on Memorial Day weekend in 2017, Fox along with Kalvin Solis, 24, conspired to rob the victim of marijuana. Fox communicated to the victim to meet at Woodland Park in northwest Visalia. Solis solicited a ride for the pair from a juvenile and also in the car was Jose Cortez, 24. Before going to the park, the group drove to a residence to pick up a handgun from a different juvenile.
At the park, the defendants pulled behind the victim’s vehicle. The victim, believing the meetup was a drug sale, allowed Fox to enter the back seat of the vehicle. Fox then produced the handgun and pointed it at the victim, demanding a bag of marijuana.
Startled by the turn of events, the victim began to drive away. The victim’s girlfriend, who was also in the vehicle, fell into the back seat and attempted to kick Fox out of the car. Fox shot the victim through the back before the car crashed into a parked car. Fox ran out of the car and was picked up by the other defendants. Witnesses observed Fox and Solis grab another bag of marijuana before departing.
A short time later, Visalia Police Department detectives observed Fox and Solis exit the suspect vehicle at a north Visalia location. Police contacted the suspects and found two bags of marijuana and a firearm in Solis’ backpack. Forensic analysis of the firearm later matched it to the gun used in the crime. Additionally, Fox’s DNA was located on the firearm.
Prior to the killing on May 28, Solis was involved in multiple armed robberies of pizza delivery drivers on March 11 and 12. No one was hurt in the robberies. On March 14, a pizza shop employee grew suspicious of an incoming order, and contacted the Visalia Police Department.
On March 18, 2021, a jury found Solis guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance that the murder was committed in the commission of a robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, two additional counts of robbery while armed with a knife and a misdemeanor count of providing false information to police. The court also found the special allegation that Solis committed the murder and conspiracy to commit robbery while out on bail in the armed robbery case to be true. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on April 16, 2021.
As for the accomplices, they are handled a little differently. In September 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1437 which led to treating accomplices to murder differently than the actual killers. Under the new law, only major participants who act with reckless indifference for human life can be prosecuted for murder under the theory of felony murder. In light of the new standards, on Oct. 26, 2018, Jose Cortez pleaded no contest to robbery for his role in the crime. On Dec. 5, 2018, he was sentenced to 5 years suspended state prison pending his successful completion of felony probation. As a result, Cortez’s jail term with in custody credits was 1,113 days.
The minors involved in the murder robbery case were adjudicated in juvenile court.