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September 27, 2023

Murder trial proceedings put off until March 5

The suspect in the 2014 murder of a 19-year-old Hollister woman had his jury trial date put off and will appear in court again March 5, according to court records.

Jose A. Barajas, the Hollister man accused of killing Ariana Zendejas in 2014 before fleeing the country to Mexico, had a scheduled jury trial for late January delayed.

Barajas has had continued delays for a trial setting initially scheduled for May due to a motion to dismiss certain information in the case.

His next trial setting is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 5 before Judge Steven Sanders.

Barajas is accused of murdering Zendejas in 2014. Barajas was detained in the summer of 2018 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.

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


If convicted of murder, Barajas would face up to life in prison. He has remained at the San Benito County Jail during the court proceedings.

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 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.