The family and friends of stabbing victim Alberto Torres packed the Santa Barbara Courthouse Wednesday morning. His mother said they are waiting for justice to be done.
Igor Rai Ortiz, 20, Angel Rafael Bajaras Flores, 31, Adelain Leilani Ibarra, 20, Alondra Ochoa, 18, and Alejandro De La Torre, 23, appeared before Judge James Herman for a preliminary hearing setting conference.
The preliminary hearing will determine if there is enough evidence for the defendants to stand trial as charged.
Mr. Barajas, Mr. Ortiz, and Ms. Ibarra are charged with murder and Ms. Ochoa is charged as an accessory. They pleaded not guilty during an arraignment July 8.
Mr. De La Torre, 23, was charged separately from the others as an accessory to murder. He pleaded not guilty on July 15.
All defendants face gang enhancements.
The juvenile charged in this case will remain in juvenile court, prosecutors said.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Sigel said her office may move to join Mr. De La Torre’s case with the case against the other defendants.
Judge James Herman continued the hearing to Sept. 18. Mr. De La Torre will appear alone for a bail hearing on Aug. 28.
“I want justice for my son. For what they did to him,” said Mr. Torres’ mother Rosa Suarez outside the courtroom. She and several other family members wore white shirts with Mr. Torres’ picture printed on them.
“We want to know what’s going on,” added another family member who questioned why Mr. De La Torre would be considered for release on bail.
At 1:15 a.m. June 1, police were called to a report of an assault in the 1300 block of Cacique Street. Officers located an unconscious man, later identified as Mr. Torres, 29, of Santa Barbara. Mr. Torres had suffered multiple stab wounds. He was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where he later died.
“Alberto was a happy guy with a friendly soul,” wrote Katrina Torres in an obituary for Mr. Torres.
“Alberto always had a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, and something nice to say,”