The first defendant in the stabbing death of Alberto Torres has confirmed a preliminary hearing date in December.
Igor Rai Ortiz, 19, and his attorney Michael Carty insisted Judge James Herman set a preliminary hearing for Mr. Ortiz instead of continuing Wednesday’s hearing yet again.
Mr. Ortiz is charged with murder along with Angel Rafael Barajas-Flores, 31, and Adelain Leilani Ibarra, 20. Alondra Ochoa, 18, and Alejandro De La Torre, 23 are charged as accessories to murder.
All the defendants appeared before Judge Herman for a preliminary hearing setting conference in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
Judge Herman set Mr. Ortiz for a Dec. 9 preliminary hearing. The rest of the defendants will appear for another preliminary hearing setting conference on Dec. 11. The preliminary hearing will determine if there is enough evidence for the defendants to stand trial as charged.
Mr. Barajas-Flores blew kisses to friends and family in the audience and said, “I love you,” as he was escorted out of the courtroom by bailiffs.
All defendants remain in County Jail custody.
At 1:15 a.m. June 1, Santa Barbara Police Department officers 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.
Mr. Torres suffered multiple stab wounds and was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where he died.
During a bail hearing for Mr. De La Torre in late August, prosecutors claimed the first four defendants were out tagging in Eastside Gang territory when they saw Mr. Torres and attacked him outside his home.