by Antoinnette Borbon
The five defendants charged with the death of Peter Gonzales, 23, a Hacienda Heights man, faced the judge today.
Carlos Biviescas, Martyn Alex Contreras, Anthony Daniel Rivera, Zackary Thomas Sandeno and Victor Manuel Vergara have been charged with murder, along with gang-related enhancements.
Martyn Contreras has retained counsel with Attorney Vincent Maher of Fairfield. He has pled “not guilty to all counts and with no time waived has agreed to a Preliminary Hearing Conference on the 13th of October. The Preliminary Hearing is set for the 19th of October in the Honorable Dave Rosenberg’s courtroom.”
The other four defendants pled “not guilty on all counts,” as well. Only one other defendant, Carlos Biviescas, was present, in custody with his attorney, John Case.
Standing in temporarily for the remaining three defendants, Zachary Sandeno and Manuel Vergara, were attorneys Charles Butler and J. Toney.
Defense and conflict attorney for the county, Jeff Raven, was appointed counsel for Anthony Rivera.
“The family has requested counsel while waiting on private counsel but defendant agrees not to waive time and acknowledges receipt of complaint, pleading Not Guilty to all counts, your honor,” stated J.Toney.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton agreed to keep the dates as proposed, stating, “My concern is that I am not going to have all I need to proceed with the Preliminary Hearing by the 9th, (as per judge’s first chosen date) but should have all I need by the 19th.”
Davis Police, along with the assistance of YONET (Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team) and the Yolo County Gang Task Force, are actively searching for another suspect, Joseph Sandeno, 20, of Vacaville, who they believe to be involved in the victim’s death.
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office filed a two-part amended complaint, emphasizing that the crime was of a criminal street gang nature.
Witnesses say a fight broke out in KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar at about 1:30 AM on Saturday, September 19.
“It was a bloody scene, unnecessary violence,” stated one witness. “I saw about seven to eight people all intertwined, fighting, girls were screaming as the kid lay passed out on the ground while he was still being kicked, hit,” the witness stated.
Bouncers rushed in to break up the fight but it was too late, according to the witness. The witness, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, says he can identify the assailant who stabbed the victim.
He has given a brief statement to authorities.
Peter Alexander Gonzales, 23, died of a fatal stab wound. He was taken to the UCD Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, according to UCD employee alert emails.
Mr. Gonzales was in Davis to attend his sister’s wedding. The family is asking anyone who has information to please contact the Davis Police Department.
Many in the Davis community are still in shock over the death of Gonzales.
“It used to be a calm, safe place to raise your kids, to live, but I’m not so sure anymore,” stated a downtown resident.