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September 27, 2023

Same hearing continued since August for murder suspect

Attorneys in the case against murder suspect Jose Barajas can’t seem to get past the preliminary setting stage.
On Friday, the preliminary setting for Barajas was continued yet again, this time until December, according to court records. At a preliminary setting, involved parties schedule the crucial preliminary hearing where a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence for a trial.
Barajas has now had the preliminary setting rescheduled at least a handful of times.
Now the hearing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 27. He is represented by Greg LaForge. He has had the hearings repeatedly rescheduled since August.
The 24-year-old is the suspect in the 2014 murder of Ariana Zendejas, who was 18 at the time.
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.
The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges July 16 along with special allegations that could enhance any possible penalties.
If convicted of murder, Barajas could face up to life in prison. He has remained at the San Benito County Jail during the court proceedings.
Barajas had been implicated in the shooting death of the 18 year-old Hollister resident on Aug. 1, 2014. Barajas fled Hollister that night and remained a fugitive until July 12 of this year. Hollister police booked him into the San Benito County Jail after Barajas was transported from Guadalajara, Mexico.
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.