The trial of a man accused of a gang-related stabbing is expected to start in February, an official with the District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
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Cesar Navarro, 21, a suspected Newhall gang member, pleaded not guilty Sept. 5 to charges he fatally stabbed another suspected gang member.
Both sides are due back in court Feb. 10, said Taly Peretz, the deputy district attorney in charge of prosecuting the case.
“It was just set for a pretrial, to check the status of discovery,” Peretz said, adding that the pretrial hearing also puts the case on a calendar to start within 15 days of that date.
“We estimate the trial will go within that period,” she said.
Navarro was held to stand trial for the charges after evidence was presented at a preliminary hearing July 5.
Judge Hayden Zacky found there was sufficient proof to justify the charges that Navarro stabbed Franco Olea, 28, of Newhall, to death outside of Olea’s home in December.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies presented evidence that the case was gang-related, as Navarro and Olea are thought to be in rival gangs.
In a field interview with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Navarro allegedly admitted to being a member of the AOBs. A police field interview card revealed that Navarro, also known as Speedy, has an AOB tattoo on his upper left chest.
The AOBs and the Newhall 13 gangs have turf that overlaps in the Newhall area. Their rivalry resulted from a failed merger that took place more a year and half ago.
Personal quarrels prevented the merger from taking place, according to Detective Jeff Burrows, in courtroom testimony.
There are fights on a daily basis between the AOBs and the Newhall 13 that often go unreported, he said.
One of these altercations in December is what led to Olea’s death, he added.
Initial witnesses stated they heard a car’s alarm activate on the street, according to Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau.
When they went outside, the witnesses saw the victim fighting with another Hispanic male in the driveway of the residence. The suspect appeared to stab the victim and then left the location in an unknown direction.
Navarro is being held in lieu of $1,070,000 bail at the Pitchess Detention Center.
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Source: Santa Clarita News