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Rapper Sad Boy Loko Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Murder

After Preliminary Hearing, Santa Barbara Artist Remains in Jail Without Bail

S.B. rapper Sad Boy Loko , a k a Mario Hernandez Pacheco, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, robbery, and assault. | Credit: Courtesy

During homegrown rap artist Sad Boy Loko’s preliminary hearing on June 17, Judge James Herman decided there was probable cause for the charges that have kept Sad Boy, legally Mario Hernandez Pacheco, in custody without bail for more than 10 months. Pacheco was arrested on August 3, 2018, on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery, and assault likely to produce great bodily harm. The charges include three gang enhancements. Pacheco pleaded not guilty to all charges and his attorneys, Adam Pearlman and J’Aimee Oxton, claim there is no digital or physical forensic evidence linking him to the crime.

According to District Attorney Kimberly Siegel, Pacheco, along with two minors and another adult male known as “Yellow Shirt,” beat up, kicked, and stabbed a 19-year-old victim after stealing his backpack, which contained ecstasy, marijuana, mushrooms, and acid. Gang expert Detective Christina Marshall testified that Pacheco, Yellow Shirt, and the two minors are all active gang members, but the victim is not.

During the hearing, case detective Ryan Aijian described what police believe were the events surrounding the crime. According to Aijian, the victim, whom he referred to only as AS to protect his identity, and the two minors were driving around town on July 22, 2018, drinking and smoking marijuana and trying to sell AS’s drugs. At one point, the three allegedly picked up Pacheco at a tattoo shop near Speedy Mart & Liquor on Milpas Street. A Speedy Mart surveillance video shows Pacheco going in and out of the store, and returning with the minors; he can be seen purchasing a Swisher Sweets cigarillo for the minors. All three exit the store at 11:33 p.m. Aijian testified that the victim, who had stayed in his car, claims he then drove everyone to the Cacique Street footbridge, where all four got out of the car and met Yellow Shirt.

Photo: Paul WellmanJudge James Herman

Yellow Shirt went back to the car with AS to buy drugs, but, according to Aijian, once inside, Yellow Shirt allegedly brandished a knife and took the backpack from AS. The two went back to the group where AS threatened to call the police if they didn’t return his backpack. Yellow Shirt then punched AS in the face and threw him to the ground. AS was kicked and stomped multiple times by all four suspects, according to Aijian. In the midst of the attack, a BB gun fell to the ground. AS picked up the BB gun and shot Yellow Shirt in the chest three to four times before Yellow Shirt grabbed the BB gun. AS then said that he believes Yellow Shirt stabbed him and hit him with the BB gun. Everyone ran off, leaving AS, who eventually called 9-1-1 at 12:37 a.m.

Paramedics took him to Cottage Hospital where he remained in the ICU for three days. Aijian described his injuries as “very significant.”

Under questioning, AS told police the Speedy Mart video would show the assailants. When Aijian showed AS a video still of Pacheco and the minors, AS confirmed the three were involved in the attack, as well as a video still of just Pacheco, whom AS called Mario.

Pacheco was arrested on August 3, and the minors were arrested in their respective homes on August 4. Yellow Shirt is still at large.

In court, Pacheco’s attorney Pearlman called the identification process “suspect.” “It’s police telling him, ‘This is the guy,’ because they’re showing only one person,” said Pearlman, who contested much of the evidence offered by the prosecution. including discrepancies in the timing of events.

According to the Speedy Mart video, AS and the three suspects left the Speedy Mart at 11:33 p.m. However, according to phone records, Pacheco received a call at 11:55 p.m., which places him near the Speedy Mart at that time. “He can’t be at both places at once,” said Pearlman.

A gas station video time stamped at 11:58 p.m. shows a vehicle turning onto Montecito Street, away from the direction of Cacique bridge, and slowing down before driving off-screen. Pacheco’s sister and the gas station clerk testified the vehicle is Pacheco’s. The driver of the vehicle is not visible in the video.

Photo: Paul WellmanSenior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel and Defense Attorney Adam Pearlman

Then, according to phone records, Pacheco made two phone calls, at 12:02 a.m. and 12:19 a.m., during the time the crime allegedly took place.

Pearlman made much of the way the victim described “Mario” to the police. AS said he was a heavy-set, short man, wearing a large blue Dodgers hat. In the Speedy Mart video Pacheco is not wearing a hat, and at the time of his arrest, Pacheco was 5’8″ and 140 pounds. AS doesn’t mention any tattoos, though Pacheco has large tattoos on his head and sleeves on his arms.

Pearlman and Oxton also emphasized that Pacheco cooperated with law enforcement. At the time of his arrest, Pacheco had both his and his daughter’s phone on his person, and he provided passcodes to both phones as well as keys to his vehicle and residence. Nothing on the phones or seized from his home or vehicle link him back to the crime, said his attorneys. 

Pacheco isn’t being accused of being the main assailant, but “It’s clear that it was a gang group effort,” said Judge Herman, “so no bail remains appropriate.” Pacheco’s next court date is scheduled for July 26.

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