Attorneys Make Final Preparations for Vargas Murder Trial

DA Questions Why Defense Wants Photos of Eastside Gang Members

Deputy District Attorney Hans Almgren and defense attorney Ron Bamieh spent Friday discussing when materials they had requested in the Benjamin Vargas murder trial would be presented to them.

Almgren filled a motion for a continuance to push back the start of the trial from next Monday to August 22 as he had yet to receive any information on potential defense witnesses Bamieh planned to call.

In response, Bamieh said he had requested the prosecution hand over discovery that had yet to be made available to him. Among the items requested were two photo lineups, an arrest report of a witness on the prosecution’s list, photos of Eastside gang members flashing signs, DNA results on items including a knife, and jail phone records of the defendant.

As the list was read off, Almgren explained that some of the items were waiting to be picked up at the District Attorney’s Office.

In regard to the DNA results, Almgren said he had yet to receive them and once he did he would pass them on to the defense.

Almgren added he didn’t have any phone records from the jail that would be used in the trial. He added that he didn’t see the relevance of giving photos of known Eastside gang signs.

Bamieh said he had a photo that showed the victim flashing the signs and wanted the photos to show that in fact they were the same signs used by the Eastside gang. Almgren responded by asking for the photo of the victim using them as well.

Vargas was arrested May 17 in connection with the murder of Vincent Velasquez. Velasquez was stabbed more than a dozen times in Isla Vista on May 15. Vargas pleaded not guilty to murder and would face 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The parties will return Monday morning with Almgren’s motion under submission.

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