After a preliminary hearing last week, Carlos Varela (pictured) is set to stand trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, former UCSB student Holly Lake. In a courtroom packed with Lake’s friends and family – all wearing T-shirts emblazoned with her face – Superior Court Judge Joseph Lodge ruled in the prosecution’s favor that Varela be charged with murder with special circumstances. Varela, 25, will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if found guilty. Testimony from detectives at last Wednesday’s hearing suggested that Varela confessed to his mother, less than a day after the incident, that he had stabbed Lake to death. Varela’s former roommate and coworker also indicated Varela admitted the crime to him in a telephone conversation hours after the murder. Lake, 29, was found dead from multiple stab wounds in the mountains near East Camino Cielo and Gibraltar Road last August.

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