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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 7:18 pm | Fair with Haze 53º

 
 
 
 

Man Charged With Fatally Shooting Younger Brother Allowed to Attend His Funeral

Fernando Navarro Click to view larger
Fernando Navarro

A Santa Maria Superior Court judge has decided Fernando Navarro can attend the funeral for his younger brother, whom he has been charged with fatally shooting 10 days ago.

While authorizing the temporary 5-hour release from jail during a hearing Tuesday morning, Judge John McGregor also said the defendant, or his family., must pay costs for the two armed Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies who will transport and escort Navarro.

“This is an incredibly tragic situation,” McGregor said, adding that allowing Navarro to attend the funeral will not remove the pain of the family’s loss.

On Feb. 3, the defendant’s younger brother, Leonardo Navarro, 13, was shot accidentally in a residence on the 600 block of West Polk Street. 

The injured boy was transported by medical helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he later was declared dead. 

Fernando Navarro, 19, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, and unlawful firearm activity. 

He also faces special allegations he personally used a firearm and inflicted great bodily injury.

At the time of the shooting, Navarro was on probation for brandishing a replica firearm. His probation on that case was not set to end until January 2020.

Last week, attorney Sara Elturk from the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office sought the temporary release, but the matter was delayed to Tuesday.

“Your honor, what occurred a couple of weeks ago to the Navarro family is a tragedy,” Elturk said Tuesday. “The whole family, including Fernando, are devoted and in mourning. The request today is to allow Fernando to mourn with this family.”

His family also supported Navarro attending the funeral and the defendant did not plan to be disruptive, she added.

Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu said she opposed the temporary release. 

Trieu expressed concern for the safety of Navarro and the community, referring to issues raised during private conversations involving the attorneys and judge.

“Although it is tragic and the people understand and sympathize and empathize the plight Mr. Navarro is in, Mr. Navarro is charged in the homicide of his younger brother,” she said, arguing that a temporary release would not appropriate .

The family reportedly will pay between $1,000 and $1,200 for Navarro to attend the funeral for Leonardo, who was an eighth-grader at Tommie Kunst Junior High School. The funeral Mass is planned for 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.

The judge also said Navarro would be restrained and shackled as the sheriff’s deputies deem necessary. 

Meanwhile, the criminal case also Navarro will return to court March 8, when the judge and attorneys are expected to set a date for the preliminary hearing.

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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