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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 12:17 pm | Fair 62º


Prison Inmate, Second Man To Stand Trial For Alleged Roles in Santa Maria Man’s Death

A prison inmate accused of orchestrating the murder of a Santa Maria man from behind bars has been ordered to stand trial on the charges along with a second man.

A preliminary hearing occurred Wednesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in the case against Joseph Morales and Bryan Rios.

The pair are charged with murder and several special allegations for what investigators say was a gang-related slaying.

They are among five people arrested following the killing of Javier Alcantar Limon, 37, of Santa Maria. 

Morales and Rios were charged in connection with Limon's death in a case investigators said was connected to drug and criminal street gang activity.

A group of farmworkers found Limon’s body just off the side of West Main Street, near the entrance to the Guadalupe Dunes, in the morning of Aug. 19, 2014. 

Initially arrested in connection with the killing were Santa Maria residents Gregorio Agustine, and siblings Yesenia Granados, and Arturo Granados.

After a preliminary hearing in May 2015, all three were held to answer to the charges. 

Agustine and Arturo Granados appeared in court Monday for a brief hearing that was continued to later this month to await the completion of the second preliminary hearing for the other men charged in the case.

The woman has since pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder.

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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