San Diego Superior Court Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled today that former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez's son, Esteban, and three friends must stand trial for the stabbing death of an allegedly unarmed 22-year-old college student outside a fraternity party.
Bashant made her decision at 12:10 p.m., declaring there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial, five days after a lengthy preliminary hearing opened on April 1. Compelling testimony came from Nunez's friend John Murray, who said that Nunez and his friends, all from the Sacramento area, went to San Diego to party, but instead got involved in a brutal knife fight last October 4. Murray said he decided not to go out partying that night, and instead stayed back to meet a friend. He testified that he wasn't present when the incident occurred near the campus of San Diego State University. Murray told the judge he was awakened by Nunez and his three other college-age friends at 2:45 a.m. and informed that the group was immediately driving home to Sacramento. On the way back, Murray testified, Nunez told him he stabbed someone in the shoulder and Ryan Jett, another defendant, stabbed someone, too.
Prosecutors said all of the serious injuries were sustained by the group allegedly attacked by Nunez and his friends during a street fight. Luis Santos bled to death, another young man was stabbed in the back and stomach, a third victim was stabbed in the shoulder and a fourth was punched in the eye.
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The alleged attackers, Nunez, Jett, Rafael Garcia and Leshanor Thomas, are charged with murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of vandalism. However, Bashant ruled that Thomas didn't have a knife. They possibly face life in prison if convicted.