The California Supreme Court denied a petition for review filed by the attorney of an aspiring rapper charged with making felony criminal threats. 

The denial clears the way for the case against Orcutt resident Anthony Ray Murillo to resume in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria. 

The state Supreme Court ruling Wednesday came less than three months after the state appellate court reversed a Santa Barbara County judge’s decision to dismiss felony charges against Murillo who prosecutors say threatened two Santa Maria rape victims in songs posted online.

In July, the Second District Court of Appeal said a local judge erred in deciding not to hold Murillo to answer to the charges stemming from allegations the lyrics of his song, “Moment for Life Remix,” threatened two teenage rape victims.

After a preliminary hearing in a Santa Maria courtroom, Judge Patricia Kelly said in March 2014 the lyrics were protected speech that did not constitute a criminal threat under state law, dismissing charges against Murillo.

The appellate court disagreed. 

Since this summer, local prosecutors have been poised to reinstate the charges and proceed toward a trial as if Murillo had been held to answer after the preliminary hearing.

However, Murillo’s attorney first asked the appellate to rehear the matter, a request rejected in early August. 

A few weeks later, Murillo’s attorney filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court, which was rejected this week.

Murillo’s song included lyrics that reportedly identified and threatened two girls raped by his friend, Shane Villalpando, who was convicted in June 2013 of three counts of unlawful sex with a minor concerning Jane Doe 1, the appellate ruling said.

At the time, Villalpando attended St. Joseph High School and later graduated from Righetti High School, both in Orcutt.

After it was posted on the online music site ReverbNation, “Moment for Life Remix” was downloaded 1,089 times and played 23,468 times before it was removed from the website on Oct. 9, 2013, authorities said.

The case against Murillo has attracted attention beyond Santa Barbara County due to the issue of protected speech under the First Amendment versus victims’ rights.

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

Light-haired man with mustache smiling

Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at

A stylized hawk's head on a red background

Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at