Update: Another Suspect Remains At-Large As Police Make an Additional Arrest

Joseph Sadeno, 20, from Vacaville remains at large
Joseph Sandeno, 20, from Vacaville remains at large

On Friday, police officers served multiple search warrants in Vacaville, Sacramento and West Sacramento related to the homicide that took place at KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar in the early morning hours of September 19. Police say they believe that “all the targets of this investigation are members and associates of a Norteño criminal street gang based in Vacaville, CA.”

Detectives arrested an additional homicide suspect, identified as Victor Manuel Acosta Vergara (a 22-year-old male from Vacaville) in Fairfield. During the searches of various homes in Vacaville, detectives also located narcotics, large sums of money and a firearm.

On Monday afternoon, the police released names and photos of two fugitive suspects in the fatal stabbing of 23-year-old Peter Gonzales, following an early morning fight inside KetMoRee in downtown Davis early Saturday morning.

Police identified Zackary Sandeno, 21, and his younger brother Joseph Sandeno, 20, of Vacaville, as two remaining suspects in the murder investigation. Late on Saturday, police had arrested Martyn Contreras of Vacaville, 25, who is being held without bail at the Yolo County Jail.

Police announced the arrest of Zackary Sandeno on Monday evening.

“20 year old Joseph Sandeno is still wanted in connection with the homicide,” Assistant Chief Darren Pytel told the Vanguard. “No further information is being released at this time.”

Joseph Sandeno is described in the police report as a white male, with blond hair, blue eyes, approximately 6’00”, and 140 lbs. Based on the police investigation, Joseph Sandeno currently has shoulder length blond hair.

According to reports, the victim, Mr. Gonzales, had been in Davis with his family to attend his sister’s wedding on Sunday. The wedding party ended up at KetMoRee on Friday night. Mr. Gonzales was coming to the aid of his two brothers who had been assaulted in the bar. He was then fatally stabbed.

The murder has shocked the sense of many in the community, who are questioning current policies that have allowed restaurants like KetMoRee to convert to after-hours nightclubs. KetMoRee has been a popular late night location with college-aged crowd, but often has been the source of trouble in the form of fights and drunkenness.

On Friday night this scene turned deadly. The Vanguard  requested and was provided incident reports dating back five years at the club, as presented in an article on Thursday, September 24.

Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel told the Vanguard that police responded to a fight inside the bar located at 238 G Street at approximately 1:30 am on Saturday morning.

When officers arrived they found the 23-year-old male from Southern California suffering from a serious injury consistent with being stabbed. The victim was transported to UC Davis Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Assistant Chief Pytel told the Vanguard, “There are no indications the victim did anything to provoke the fight.” And information has emerged, as stated, that the victim was actually coming to the aid of his brothers at the time he was stabbed.

On Wednesday, Mr. Contreras and Zackary Sandeno went to court, but ultimately their arraignment was postponed. Both defendants requested a continuance pending retainment of private counsel. The two face first-degree murder charges per Penal Code section 187(a), along with gang enhancements according to PC section 186.22.

Martyn Contreras stated, “I am going to be using an attorney I have used in the past.” Zackary Sandeno echoed that, stating, “I am still looking for private counsel, your honor.” The court granted a continuance date of October 5, at 1:30 pm, Department 1.

Supervising District Attorney Garrett Hamilton agreed with the continuance: “I agree with that, your Honor, but want to keep the motion in place,” referring to a motion keeping the two defendants together.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Anon

    1.  The staff at movie theaters have told me specifically they are searching my purse for weapons.  My purse was never searched until just recently (the last month or so).

    2. I am not the only one who thinks KetMoRee is lax in their business practices in protecting the public when they turn into a nightclub in the evening.  The people I have talked to about this are downtown businessmen.

    Small samplings of opinions from customers from following website: https://localwiki.org/davis/KetMoRee

    2010-05-06 15:09:19…I won’t be back. Why? In the desire to cultivate its nightclub business, Ket MoRe has has lingerie parties. Women who show up in scanty lingerie get in free and are eligible for prizes. Let’s exploit young broke college women by feeding them drinks if they show up wearing little more than a thong. I can’t support that.

    2010-05-23 14:25:41…The focus for this restaurant seems no longer to be on food but rather on hosting night club events and selling alcohol to college students. I am especially disappointed in some of the events this restaurant holds (including lingerie parties where young women are allowed in free and men are charged large sums of money to gawk at the girls… a truly classy event). I’m all for letting people go out and have a good time, but let’s try to to find a way to do it without exploiting young women…

    2011-03-04 12:05:10   This place is off putting in so many ways…unattractively drunk females stumbling about…I think the way in which the management and employees handle it is beyond unprofessional…KetMoRee doesn’t demonstrate even a slight care for them other than getting their money.

    2011-04-24 02:44:18   The nightclub management is SO UNBELIEVABLY rude. They obviously don’t care about their customers or whether they return. Stay away from this place…

    2011-05-13 12:15:37 …The bartenders are total creeps. One was trying to flirt with this girl at the bar and was giving her free drinks, and I’m no bartender, but he sure packed that thing with more hard liquor than would be safe for a girl her size…And on top of that the bouncers are complete and utter tools. They epitomize the term MEAT HEAD. They are incredibly rude and objectify the women. They ogle girls as they walk in, damn near undressing them with their eyes. They, too, try to flirt with the girls but in a much less discrete way. As in literally spanking some on the ass…

    1. Frankly

      You are not the only one complaining about KetMoRee, but then there are many, many more… including the Assistant Chief… telling us that the restaurant is well-managed.

      Seems that you are just applying a moral filter against night clubs.  Why not the other restaurants with night clubs too?

  2. daveyjones

    Question (does anyone ask questions anymore?):  Why didn’t the bouncers stop these guys on the way out?  Is the answer just the obvious thing, which is that they were cowards?  Or maybe the policy at this establishment is for bouncers not to risk their safety?  I guess if I was an night club owner with bouncers, for liability reasons I would instruct them to get out of the way if their safety was every at serious risk.  Does that sound right?

    1. Biddlin

      If a club doesn’t have trained and willing security, I supply my own. A good bouncer can disable and remove a miscreant without ever alerting or alarming the customers. In the old days, I worked a saloon in downtown Sacramento that had Jack Daniels, his real name. Jack was only 5’6″ and perhaps 150 pounds, but I’ve seen him separate two groups of bikers and move three Gypsy Jokers out of the crowded bar without disturbing any non-combatants. My current guy is a former Ranger and martial arts instructor, who is also licensed to carry a gun and does.


    2. hpierce

      Whattya want to make a bet that by owners/staff actually realized that someone had been stabbed, the perps were ‘long gone’?  No indication that anyone announced ‘we are going to stab someone’,or hey everybody, we just stabbed a guy.  No indication the victim cried out.  If it was at all crowded, who (except the victim) realized what had gone down?

      Put your theories back into your locker until more facts are revealed.

  3. Antoinnette

    I walked into the restaurant yesterday. I saw a lot of cameras so hopefully authorities will be able to see what happened. I’m sure police have confiscated by now. It felt Erie to walk inside and know what happened. But it was business as usual.

    Police will find him.



  4. Frankly

    My son just told me that Chico downtown bars all have security personnel (not the bouncers) at the door that pats-down all males coming in for the night club scene, and checks the contents of all purses.

  5. David Greenwald

    A fourth arrest made: ” 24 year old Carlos Biviescas of Vacaville was taken into custody without incident this afternoon in Vacaville on Homicide charges.”

    So four are in custody with Joseph Sandeno still outstanding.  Police are not releasing which one actually stabbed the victim.

  6. Anon

    Frankly: “You are not the only one complaining about KetMoRee, but then there are many, many more… including the Assistant Chief… telling us that the restaurant is well-managed.

    Seems that you are just applying a moral filter against night clubs.  Why not the other restaurants with night clubs too?

    Lingerie parties?  That is tantamount to running a strip club, only the strippers are paid with free drinks.  No wonder out-of-town gangbangers are coming into Davis.  If other nightclubs in town are inviting violence as KetMoRee is, I think something needs to be done about them too.

    Frankly: “My son just told me that Chico downtown bars all have security personnel (not the bouncers) at the door that pats-down all males coming in for the night club scene, and checks the contents of all purses.

    Exactly – it sounds like a good idea to me.  If I can put up with being virtually strip-searched at the airport and have my purse checked for weapons at Davis movie theaters, then why not have “wanding” or metal detectors of customers for weapons at the restaurant-turned-nightclub doors?

    1. hpierce

      Guess I don’t care, since I don’t ‘club’.  But due to an injury, I have a metal rod in my femur.  I get the “special line” @ TSA.  Wands would go off with me.

      Oh, and for potential for violence, we could want all those attending CC and Commission meetings.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Overreacting to gang bangers seeing downtown Davis as a cool place to come party, chase girls, and stab patrons?

      I’d take a wild guess that gang members are also more likely to rape and use rape drugs tnan say a junior from Alameda studying marine biology. But that’ just a guess.

      Let me guess, these guys serve 4 years in jail and they’re out on parole and back in downtown Davis thereafter for Round 2?

    1. Don Shor

      Yeah, just for fun, Google their names one by one. Amazing what comes up. So the downtown Davis nightclub scene is attracting an interesting clientele. But apparently, there’s not a problem according to some folks on here.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Don, we agree on something??!!

        I have yet to go back and read old posts, but I have yet to see a response to what I think is a reasonable suggestion – highly publicized DUI checkpoints on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Bring in extra officers from the Sheriffs Department, Sacramento, wherever we need to go.

        Send a clear message that Davis is not the place for criminals and hoodlums to come party the night away.

        Back when I was a student I was told that this kind of behavior / crowd was why parents sent their children to Davis over Berkeley. Other students who went to Berkeley would instead socialize in the fraternity / sorority system – which had its own problems – but typically didn’t involve murder.

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