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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 11:42 pm | Fog/Mist 49º


Homicide Suspect, Now 18, Loses Bid To Stay In Santa Maria Juvenile Hall

A teenage murder defendant on Wednesday lost his bid to remain in Santa Maria Juvenile Hall, although he has turned 18 years old since his arrest.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge John McGregor denied the request made by defense attorney Adrian Galvan, who represents Daniel Montelongo.

The defendant is one of three people charged in connection with the Sept. 10 fatal stabbing of Luis Alberto Castaneira, 18, of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria police officers were dispatched just before 5 p.m. to the 900 block of West McElhaney Avenue, where they found one male victim.

The felony complaint contends the incident involved a home-invasion robbery for the benefit of a criminal street gang. 

In addition to Montelongo, two others — Abdu Rai Delgado, 23, and Pedro Mora Santos, 20 — are charged in connection with the slaying. 

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office charged Montelongo as an adult.

Montelongo, 17 years old at the time of the incident, turned 18 six weeks later, leading law enforcement officers to move him from the facility housing juvenile offenders and into the Santa Barbara County Jail with other adults.

The judge said the defense had not provided a preponderance of evidence supporting a continued stay in Juvenile Hall.

Instead, he directed Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to house Montelongo within 10 days, although efforts were in progress to make the switch as soon as Wednesday’s hearing.

Galvan argued that Montelongo would be best served byremaining in Juvenile Hall, where he has access to services with a focus on rehabilitation, not punishment.

He told the court that Montelongo’s interests are greater than the added expenses of keeping him in Juvenile Hal.  

Galvan also maintained his client was working to complete his high school classes, despite earlier refusing a school packet.

In addition to monetary concerns, keeping the 18-year-old at Juvenile Hall would affect programs aimed at juvenile offenders incarcerated there, Deputy County Counsel Maria Novatt said. 

After ruling against Montelongo, the judge ordered him to return to court Dec. 1.

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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