By Michele Chadwick
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Gang pretrials were the order of the day Monday here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, and a public stabbing was the focus of the testimony from Detective Nathan Beltran, an expert witness on gang terminology and behavior.
Beltran testified that a public stabbing bolsters gang reputation through media coverage. The publicity that results from a public stabbing can increase recruitment for the gang and increase influence and intimidation over witnesses or juries, he said.
Officer John Spradley testified to the witness statements he took on the day of the incident, including a married couple who witnessed the stabbing.
On Sept. 24, 2020, Jane* and her husband Josh* (not real names) were dining on State Street when they heard a commotion on the street, they told the officer.
Jane alleged that two to three men “ganged up on one man” outside of O’Malley’s and began attacking him. She believes that two to three additional men began to aid the victim.
Her husband Josh alleged that seven to eight males got into a fight which migrated south. However, Josh’s statement alleged that this fight was so violent and extreme as to be not typical of a bar fight.
Josh’s statement alleges that at one point the victim sat up and was kicked in the face multiple times by his attackers. Despite the victim’s attempts to protect his face with his arms and hands he could not adequately or effectively protect himself, according to Josh’s statement.
The prosecutor suggested that this attack involved about six Westside gang members attacking a rival Eastside member. Detective Beltran stated that State Street is the boundary between the two rival gangs’ territories.
According to Jane, the victim was bleeding profusely and clutching his lower right abdomen after the attack. He left a blood trail, she added, to where he landed near some trash cans.
The names of the defendants were not available on Zoom.
The victim is refusing to cooperate with the police, the court was informed.