Bryan Munoz, 21, of Santa Barbara, and an unnamed juvenile have been charged with the murders of 19-year-old residents Enzo Rastelli and Jasper Pieter van der Meulen.
On Monday, District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Mr. Munoz and the juvenile are being charged separately in adult and juvenile courts.
Mr. Munoz was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Department 8 of Superior Court of Santa Barbara, but his arraignment was continued to Feb. 16
And according to a statement from Ms. Dudley’s office, Mr. Munoz is eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The juvenile will be arraigned in juvenile court, according to the statement.
The statement also alleged that a conspiracy to commit a robbery, which resulted in the deaths, is connected with the Westside criminal street gang.
Consistent with the practice against identifying those being charged in juvenile court, the District Attorney’s Office is referring to the juvenile with the generic term “John Doe.”
According to the District Attorney’s Office, “it is alleged that the murders were committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with the Westside criminal street gang in Santa Barbara County, in order to promote, further or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members on or about Jan. 7, 2021.”
The shooting occurred around 12:30 p.m. Jan. 7. The Sheriff’s Office responded to the 600 block of Burtis Street, which is in an unincorporated area near Goleta. A passerby observed a suspect fleeing the area on foot. Responding deputies discovered two victims in the front seat of a parked vehicle.
Mr. Rastelli suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, and Mr. van der Meulen suffered a gunshot wound to the head, but survived the shooting and was transported to a local hospital. He succumbed to injuries and died Jan. 28.
Arrests were announced Thursday by Sheriff Bill Brown.
In Monday’s statement, the District Attorney’s Office alleged that a principal in the murders “personally discharged a firearm causing death to both victims within the meaning of Penal Code sections 12022.53(d) and (e).
“It is further alleged that Bryan Munoz and minor John Doe unlawfully killed Enzo Rastelli and Jasper Van Der Meulen while active participants in a criminal street gang within the meaning of Penal Code section 190.2(a)(22). It is further alleged that Bryan Munoz and John Doe committed multiple murders within the meaning of Penal Code section 190.2(a)(3), making Bryan Munoz eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
“Minor John Doe has been charged in juvenile court and is subject to being a ward of the court until age 25,” the statement continued.
On Thursday, Sheriff Brown announced that a 15-year-old boy was arrested in the case.
On Monday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced he had been re-booked on charges including two counts of murder, special circumstances; more than one offense of murder, special circumstances; murder committed during commission of robbery; robbery; criminal conspiracy; felony committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang; and a firearm used in the commission of the crime causing death.
The District Attorney’s Office’s statement said that Mr. Munoz and Joshua Isaac Vega, 24, of Santa Barbara have been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in the Jan. 7 incident. Mr. Vega is scheduled to be arraigned April 5 in Department 8 of the Superior Court of Santa Barbara. He faces a maximum sentence of five years if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
In regards to Mr. Munoz, the office alleged “that the conspiracy to commit robbery was done for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with the Westside criminal street gang in Santa Barbara County, in order to promote, further or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members.
“As to Bryan Munoz, it is alleged that a principal in the conspiracy personally discharged a firearm causing death within the meaning of Penal Code sections 12022.53(d) and (e).”
On Monday, the Sheriff’s Office reported that it had impounded a 2015 black Nissan Altima, which the office said was used by the suspects during the murders. The vehicle was recovered Friday in the Ventura area.
Sheriff’s Detectives said they would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the suspects and the vehicle on the night of and days following the murder. Detectives would also like to encourage anyone who has been similarly robbed to contact the detectives at 805-681-4150.
People also can leave an anonymous tip by calling 805-681-4171 or visiting sbsheriff.org.
Associate Editor Mitchell White contributed to this story.