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Local News

Murder Trial for Former Hancock College Athletes Delayed Till Summer

The Santa Barbara County Superior Court murder trial of two former Allan Hancock College basketball players has been postponed until summer, effectively delaying another unrelated homicide case.

On Monday, defense attorneys Michael Scott and Lori Pedego sought the delay after earlier receiving what Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Savrnoch called “voluminous discovery.”

The defense attorneys represent Lavell Calvin White, 24, and Ali Abdul Mohammed, 21, two former Hancock basketball players who are charged in connected with the fatal shooting of Terence Richardson, 23, in December 2014.

Investigators say the killing occurred during a drug buy in which the defendants instead tried to rob the dealer, who was the vehicle’s driver, while Richardson sat in the passenger seat. 

The driver raced Richardson to Marian Regional Medical Center, where he died from the gunshot wound.

Both defendants also are alleged to have committed multiple residential burglaries around the Santa Maria Valley. 

Instead of starting May 2, the trial now is set to begin Aug. 15 in Judge James Voysey’s courtroom, with the delay intended to give the defense attorneys time to review new evidence.

The delay will have a ripple effect since both attorneys were expected to begin trial in a different case in another courtroom starting Aug. 14.

However, the trial of Victor Aureliano Ramirez Martinez and Jose Villagomez for the violent attack on Marilyn Pharis in July 2015 is now likely to be postponed, the attorneys said.

Martinez and Villagomez are charged in connection with the attacked on the 64-year-old Air Force veteran in her northwest Santa Maria home. Pharis died eight days later.

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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