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Three Suspects Plead Not Guilty in Mesa Stabbings Case

Two victims, one of whom suffered critical injuries, have been released from the hospital

Three suspects charged in connection with the stabbings of two men after a Mesa neighborhood party have entered not guilty pleas and will return to court later this month.

Sean Crane, Michael Hardy and Eddie Mesa Jr., all in their early 20s, have been charged in connection to the attacks that sent two men to the hospital, one in critical condition.

Formal charges are pending for a fourth suspect, Devin Thomas Kelley, 24, who was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and violation of parole.

Both victims were at a party in the 1000 block of Del Mar Avenue April 14. They got into an argument with several other men, which led to a fight, during which they were stabbed multiple times, according to Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

One victim, a 40-year-old Santa Barbara man, was at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for 16 days after suffering life-threatening injuries. He was in critical condition for much of that time, but improved enough to be interviewed by police and was discharged April 30, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The other victim, who is 23 years old, was treated and released.

Crane has been charged with attempted murder and use of a deadly weapon on the 40-year-old man, whose family does not want him to be identified, according to Harwood. Crane has a conviction for second-degree robbery and assault by means of force likely producing great bodily injury from 2006. He was charged with driving under the influence last year and the case was transferred to Ventura County, where he lives.

Hardy is charged with assault with a deadly weapon — a knife — on the victim who was treated and released at the hospital for his wounds. Hardy also is charged with special allegations of causing great bodily injury and a parole violation. His criminal record includes probation and prison time for residential burglary, battery, receiving stolen property and resisting officers.

Mesa is charged with accessory after the fact connected to Crane’s attempted-murder charge. He is a U.S. Marine who recently returned home after his first seven-month tour in Afghanistan. He and Crane both graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in 2006, according to school district records.

Crane and Hardy remained in custody Tuesday at the Santa Barbara County Jail, while Mesa Jr. was released on bail April 18, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The men are next in court May 31 for a hearing in Judge Clifford Anderson’s courtroom and have preliminary hearings scheduled for June 11 and 12.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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