Jonathan Highley

Jonathan Highley

Jury selection began this week in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court trial of an Orcutt man accused of shooting a father of two behind Elmer’s bar in Old Town Orcutt in 2017.

Jonathan Highley is charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Anthony “Tony” San Juan, 43, of Santa Maria in a parking lot on March 4, 2017.

The shooting came after Highley had been involved in at least three altercations inside and outside Elmer’s Bar involving people other than San Juan, according to testimony from the preliminary hearing. 

Witnesses said Highley was extremely intoxicated.

A single gunshot wound to the head killed San Juan, who was found dead in the parking lot behind the bar on the 100 block of East Clark Avenue, authorities said.

Judge Gustavo Lavayen told attorneys — Anne Nudson for the prosecution and Mark Owens for the defense — he intended to take hardship requests Monday and Tuesday from potential jurors, with questioning to start Thursday.

The trial is expected to last until early December..

Highley and his wife, Mayra Perez, were arrested after the fatal shooting, and Perez was charged with being an accessory to the crime.

She pleaded no contest and was sentenced to a year in county jail. Upon her release, she was taken into custody by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.