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San Benito
February 27, 2024

Accused killer has trial setting put off for third time

The scheduling of a jury trial for suspected killer Jose A. Barajas has been put off for a third time. 

The trial setting is now scheduled for 9 a.m. July 18 at the San Benito County Courthouse after it was delayed Thursday. 

It was the second time parties were scheduled to hold a trial setting, a routine court step with a goal of setting dates for the jury trial proceedings.

The trial setting was put off previously June 13 and May 23. Barajas will be in custody for just over a year when the next hearing comes up. He has remained at the San Benito County Jail during the court proceedings.

Barajas is accused of murdering 18-year-old Ariana Zendejas in 2014, while a judge recently ruled there is enough evidence for such a trial. 

Barajas was detained this past summer by authorities in Mexico and has been charged by local prosecutors with murder, two counts of kidnapping, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and three counts of assault with a firearm, according to court records. Barajas has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which could put him in prison for life.

The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges July 16 along with special allegations that could enhance any possible penalties.

Barajas fled Hollister that night in 2014 and remained a fugitive until July 12, 2018. Barajas had been implicated in the shooting death of the 18-year-old Hollister resident on Aug. 1, 2014.

In 2017, Hollister police detectives learned specific and actionable information regarding the whereabouts of Barajas in Mexico, which they passed to the FBI. In January of 2018, HPD detectives and FBI agents confirmed that information through multiple local sources and sources abroad. That information led the FBI and Mexican law enforcement to a specific house in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to police. Hollister police booked him into the San Benito County Jail after Barajas was transported from Mexico.

The late Ariana Zendejas

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