Testimony wrapped up last week in a two-day preliminary hearing where law enforcement officers testified about what they believe happened the night a 22-year-old Ventura man was shot multiple times and fatally wounded in February.
Kelly Mitchell Hunt, 21, of Ventura suffered multiple gunshot wounds on the 1000 block of Olive Street on Feb. 19, and died later at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
In August, police announced they had arrested Issac Efren Jimenez, 23, of Ventura, along with Joseph Michael Castro, 20, of Santa Barbara, who was taken into custody from his Westside Santa Barbara home.
The preliminary hearing took place on Oct. 4 and 7 in front of Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill, who held both men to answer for all of the charges, including first-degree murder, special circumstances of benefiting a street gang, and lying in wait.
During the hearing, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel called three Santa Barbara police officers who investigated Hunt's death to the witness stand, as well as a gang expert from the department.
Testimony from the police officers revealed that Hunt had been friends with Jimenez, who was linked to Eastside Gang members.
Hunt was allegedly involved with a smaller clique of the Ventura Midtown gang called the Crazy Winos, and wanted to expand his base in Ventura, a threat to the Eastside gang, the officers said.
Hunt was visiting Jimenez the day of his death, and Jimenez allegedly contacted Castro before the shooting, advising that "something needed to be done" about Hunt.
Officers said Castro was ultimately the one who shot Hunt four times, once in the back and three times in the left side.
Both men are charged with discharge of a firearm and conspiracy to commit murder.
The officers also testified that Castro has ties to Raymond Macias, who is now in custody after being arrested on charges of kidnapping for extortion and torture earlier this year.
Macias is also listed on the city of Santa Barbara's gang injunction, and before his arrest, Macias had worked with La Palabra, a non-profit working with at-risk youth.
During the hearing in Hunt's case, police stated that Castro had made contact with Macias later that night after the murder occurred.
Castro is being represented by public defender Michael Hanley, and Jimenez is represented by Ilan Funke-Bilu out of San Luis Obispo.
Both men are scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 22, when they are set to be arraigned in front of Judge Hill.