Credit: Courtesy

[Update Mar. 25 12:15 p.m.] Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced on March 25 that charges have been filed against Zavala for one count of murder with a special allegation for personal use of a knife. The three other individuals arrested in connection with the stabbing have been charged with accessory after the fact to murder for assisting Zavala in fleeing and evading law enforcement, Dudley said.

Zavala is currently being held on $2 million bail and will be arraigned on March 28 at 8:30 a.m.

[Original Story] In the two days after a late-night stabbing on Milpas Street left one Port Hueneme man dead on March 20, Santa Barbara Police detectives arrested four individuals in connection to the homicide, according to a statement from Santa Barbara Police spokesperson Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale.

The stabbing reportedly occurred around 2 a.m. on Sunday, in a parking lot next to a nightclub on the 500 block of Milpas. According to Ragsdale, an altercation turned violent, and one man — 40-year-old Valentine Hernandez — was injured and transported to the hospital. Hernandez later died from his wounds.

“Santa Barbara Police Department Detectives worked this case tirelessly, resulting in the arrest of four suspects over the course of the last three days,” Ragsdale said.

The arrests began later on the day of the homicide, March 20, with police arresting 44-year-old Alejandro Mendoza Zarco in Santa Barbara for felony conspiracy relating to the murder. Two days later on March 22, three more were arrested: Carlos Rios Zavala, 53, and Leticia Munoz, 60, were both arrested at a residence in their hometown of Oxnard; 45-year-old Port Hueneme resident Jesus Manuel Zavala-Zazueta was arrested in Santa Barbara the same day.

Rios Zavala was charged with felony murder, while Munoz and Zavala-Zazueta were both charged with felony conspiracy related to the murder. Munoz has the lowest bail of the four, at $1 million, while all three men arrested each have a bail set at $2 million.

“Though several suspects have been arrested, this case is still under investigation, and more follow-ups will be conducted,” Ragsdale said. “As stated previously, this homicide does not appear to be gang-related.”

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