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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 12:48 am | Fair 51º


4 Defendants from Oceano Ordered to Trial on Kidnapping Charges

A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that four Oceano men should be tried on a pair of charges related to the alleged kidnapping of two women in Santa Maria.

Judge Timothy Staffel made his ruling at the end of a preliminary hearing that started Monday afternoon and wrapped up Tuesday morning.

The four men who will continue to face a pair of felony kidnapping for rape charges were Jose Octavio Perez, 56; Jorge Alvarez Manzano, 53; Joel Verduzco Mendoza, 24; and Jose Mendoza Cerna, 30.

Salvador Cerna Mendoza, 39, who was represented by defense attorney Lea Villegas, will not face trial after the hearing revealed little evidence about his alleged role in the incident.

The five men had been at a night club, La Coqueta on Chapel Street, and encountered the two women in the early hours on April 22.

One man offered $100 and later $500 to have sex with the woman referred to as Jane Doe No. 2, who reportedly pulled up her mini skirt at one point and later began kissing one of defendants, according to testimony.

The second woman, Jane Doe No. 1, told police the other woman was extremely intoxicated. She also recalled a Suburban pulling up nearby.

“She indicated they were trying to get Victim 2 to go into the car,” Detective Felix Diaz said in response to a question from Senior Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens.

“She told her not to go with them,” Diaz added.

While Jane Doe 2 got into the vehicle, the men pulled Jane Doe 1 into the vehicle, she told police.

As the vehicle headed west on Main Street, Jane Doe 1 indicated she felt fear, Diaz said.

Defense attorney Adrian Galvan represented Perez, the group’s designated driver.

“He said he didn't see anything as he was just focused on driving,” Diaz said.

The two women and three defendants were sitting in the Suburban’s middle seat where the men allegedly were groping them, law enforcement officers testified.

When the women said they needed to use a restroom, the driver stopped the vehicle near West Main Street and Bonita School Road. 

Jane Doe 1 fled first and was followed by the second woman. Two of the men chased them before Guadalupe police arrived at the scene.

The three other defendants were represented by attorneys Michael Scott, Billy Redell and Andrew Jennings.

After the judge's ruling, the four remaining defendants were ordered to return to court May 23 for arraignment before Judge Gustavo Lavayen.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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