“My intention was to sign a global offer and to bring about a resolution to this.”
By PAUL GONZALEZ
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Attorneys are attempting to put together a plea deal for a vegan restaurant owner accused of soliciting the murder of his ex-girlfriend, a judge and two law enforcement officers.
On Wednesday, Tyler David Beerman, 33, appeared before Judge Thomas Anderle for a preliminary hearing setting conference in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
Mr. Beerman is charged with 10 felony counts, including three counts of solicitation of murder, inducing false testimony by threat, and dissuading a witness.
He owns the VeganGreenGo Mexican restaurant, located at 3613 State St. and the Conscious Kombucha beverage brand.
Mr. Beerman’s girlfriend and co-defendant, Gissel Castano-Diaz, is charged with one count of solicitation of murder, dissuading a witness and destroying or concealing evidence.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig said he has conveyed settlement offers to Mr. Beerman and Ms. Castano-Diaz.
“After our court hearing last November, I had notified your honor and all counsel that I would be submitting a global offer. I have done that,” said Mr. Ladinig, who explained that he met with defense counsel and case investigators last week to discuss possible terms.
“We made significant progress towards getting the fine points out, if there will be a potential plea.”
Mr. Ladinig said the attorneys will return to court next Wednesday to determine if the case will settle or continue to trial. If the case does not settle, Mr. Beerman will appear for a preliminary hearing before Judge Anderle on March 4.
Mr. Beerman’s attorney, Sanford Hotowitz, and Ms. Castano-Diaz’s attorney, Neil Levinson, both agreed to the proposed timeline.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Mr. Beerman interjected that he intends to make a deal with the prosecution.
“Your honor with all due respect, I intend to speak for myself. I appreciate the court’s humor and all. I was intending to sign an agreement, but I do not agree to a preliminary in March. My attorney has only been to jail to see me maybe twice. I haven’t been given my phone calls from the jail. My intention was to sign a global offer and to bring about a resolution to this,” said Mr. Beerman.
The preliminary hearing will determine if the evidence is sufficient for Mr. Beerman to stand trial as charged.
In December 2018, Mr. Beerman and Ms. Diaz were charged in a separate case for stalking Mr. Beerman’s ex-girlfriend. Judge Von Deroian conducted a preliminary hearing in the stalking case in March 2019. She recused herself from the case during a hearing on April 16, 2019 hearing.
According to a transcript of the hearing, Mr. Beerman’s attorney in the stalking case, Stephen Smith, admitted Mr. Beerman was caught on surveillance video at the house of a Sheriff’s deputy involved in the stalking case because he wanted to ask why he was arrested and wanted his record expunged.
On Sept. 3, 2019, Mr. Ladinig filed a motion opposing Mr. Beerman’s release on bail in the current murder solicitation case.
In that motion, Mr. Ladinig claimed that sometime before March 22, 2019, Mr. Beerman agreed to pay another inmate $20,000 to blow up his ex-girlfriend’s car with her inside.
He also allegedly asked inmates to kill Judge Deroian, a Sheriff’s Lieutenant who investigated the stalking case and a Sheriff’s Detective he thought was in a relationship with his ex-girlfriend.