The scheduling of a jury trial for suspected murderer Jose A. Barajas has been put off at least three weeks.
The parties were set to hold a trial setting, with a goal of setting dates for the proceedings, this morning before Judge Steven Sanders. A judge recently ruled there is enough evidence for such a trial.
But on Thursday, attorney Art Cantu while representing public defender Gregory LaForge, who was not in attendance, asked for a three-week continuance to review prior testimony. Barajas, meanwhile, did appear Thursday for the brief hearing. He is accused of murdering 18-year-old Ariana Zendejas in 2014.
The next hearing is now set for 9 a.m. June 13 at the San Benito County Courthouse.
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 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.