A local man suspected of manslaughter faces a jury trial in February for the death of Hollister’s Lisa Hall.
The trial for Michael J. Simas has been set to start at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 25 in courtroom 2 of the San Benito County Courthouse, according to records. Attorneys agreed to that date along with a pre-trial conference in December and a trial confirmation Feb. 14. They did so at a hearing Oct. 4, according to court records.
Simas, 34, is accused of manslaughter in the 2017 death of the Hollister woman. Authorities arrested him Aug. 9, 2017 on suspicion of homicide. But charges from San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper were reduced to voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm in a felony.
Voluntary manslaughter is defined as killing someone upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion but without malice. If found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, Simas would face three to 11 years in prison as opposed to a potential life sentence. He faces an additional charge of using a firearm while committing a felony, which includes a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Simas, represented by attorney Harry Damkar, remains at the San Benito County Jail on $750,000 in bail.
Hall died after being dropped at the local hospital following the shooting. Police arrested Simas and recommended charges of murder and destruction of evidence.
According to the police statement released after the arrest:
On Aug. 9, police arrested Simas for his suspected involvement in the killing of Hall, age 40.
Simas provided a statement and advised the shooting was accidental and had occurred in his trailer in the unincorporated area of the county on Orchard Road. He also advised detectives where he had disposed of the firearm used in the shooting.
Hollister police detectives recovered the handgun allegedly used in this shooting along Fairview Road. Police personnel have also seized the trailer that had been moved to Hanford by Simas.