Ricardo Juarez, the 14-year-old charged as an adult in the stabbing death of killing 15-year-old Luis Angel Linares during a March gang brawl in downtown Santa Barbara, was in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing setting. After a request from defense attorney Karen Atkins and agreement from prosecutor Hilary Dozer, the preliminary hearing date was delayed to July 5.
After the very brief proceeding, Atkins said she wanted to wait for test results on evidence . She wouldn’t elaborate on what kind of tests other than saying they were “forensics, all kinds of stuff.” Dozer did not comment on why he agreed to the delay.
Juarez, who appeared in court not handcuffed or shackled and wearing a white, button-up shirt tucked into black pants, was arrested just minutes after the melee which took place at the intersection of Carrillo and State Streets the afternoon of March 14. He is the youngest person to ever be charged as an adult for murder in Santa Barbara County.
Judge Brian Hill banned cameras from the courtroom and courthouse, and addressed Juarez at the end of Thursday’s proceeding, telling him that since he is being charged as an adult, the court would be referring to him as Mr. Juarez. “I’m not going to call you Ricardo or Ricky,” he said, and asked the attorneys to do the same.
The courtroom crowd was lighter than it had been in Juarez’s past court appearances, with roughly 25 people in attendance. Four bailiffs and one deputy assigned to the sheriff’s department gang unit were also inside the courtroom, and everyone had to pass through metal detectors to get in. It was also the first time Juarez was visible to the entire courtroom. In previous court dates, he had been held in a separate side room, with a glass window allowing the judge and prosecutor to interact with him.