The Santa Barbara man accused in the murder of Robert Burke Simpson is continuing his not guilty plea as his case heads to trial.

Adrian Robles, 20, was held to answer on the counts of murder with special allegations and street terrorism after a preliminary hearing in August. According to testimony, the April 15 stabbing at Arroyo Burro Beach was preceded by arguing between Simpson and his friends and Robles and three companions, which escalated into a physical fight between Simpson and Rudy Gallegos.

Santa Barbara police officers and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies testified at the preliminary hearing before Senior Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer and defense attorney Steve Balash. Authorities said that evidence shows Robles was on parole and an active member of a Westside street gang at the time of the crime.

It could be a capital case, Dozer said.

Eyewitness accounts led to a getaway car and the detainment of four initial suspects, three of whom have been charged in connection to the case. Brittany Weiler, 19, was driving the car and is awaiting sentencing for her plea of no contest to charges of accessory to murder. Vanessa Ochoa, 18, who was also in the car, is facing the same charge.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com.