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Trial For Solvang Animal Rescue Operator Could Start Monday

An animal rescue facility operator’s Santa Maria Superior Court trial for eight misdemeanor criminal charges could begin as soon as Monday. 

During the trial confirmation conference on Thursday, Judge John McGregor ordered defendant Julia Di Sieno, 57, of Solvang, and attorneys to return at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Di Sieno, who is represented by defense attorney Kevin Dubrall, initially faced two stalking charges and two counts of making criminal threats in a criminal case filed in December that involves a pair of neighbors.

Another four misdemeanor charges — unlawful Firearms Act violation of a restraining order, possession of a deadly weapon, and two contempt-of-court counts — were filed in late February after Di Sieno allegedly failed to turn over firearms as ordered by a judge. 

The two separate cases have been consolidated into one case for the trial. 

It’s not clear where the trial will be held since McGregor is in the midst of jury selection for a homicide trial expect to last through June. 

Deputy District Attorney Steven Li said he expects the Di Sieno trial to last two or three days

Julia Di Sieno Click to view larger
Julia Di Sieno

Due to the clogged criminal court calendar,  preliminary hearings or trials routinely are sent at the last minute to judges who normally handle civil cases at the Santa Maria Court Complex, but that depends on those courtrooms having time to squeeze in the extra duty.

In a different criminal case involving a March incident, Di Sieno faces misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and battery charges from an incident with a different neighbor. 

Di Sieno allegedly followed to neighbor in her truck to the nearby El Rancho Marketplace, at 2886 Mission Drive, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

After the man got out of his vehicle, Di Sieno allegedly drove her truck toward him, striking him on the shoulder with the side mirror of her vehicle, the Sheriff’s Department said. 

Video evidence and witness statements supported the allegations, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Those charges are in a separate court case, with a possible trial trailing the first case.  

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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