Hearing set in Atwater fatal stabbing case

A Dec. 3 preliminary hearing has been set in the case of two defendants accused of fatally stabbing a 23-year-old man at the Almond Tree restaurant in Atwater a year ago this month.

Miguel Rivera, 28, and Cindy Maciel, 23, are accused of stabbing Ryan Williams at the restaurant, which is just off the Applegate Road exit of Highway 99.

Maciel and Rivera are scheduled to appear in Judge Marc Garcia’s courtroom at 8:30 a.m. for the hearing. The prosecution will present the evidence to the judge, who will determine whether there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial.

The pair are charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon and enhancements, such as committing a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang.

According to witnesses, Williams was with friends the night of Oct. 26 at the 1490 Sycamore Ave. restaurant. Rivera approached and asked if they belonged to a gang, according to the police report.

The group of friends told Rivera they didn’t belong to a gang and a fight broke out. Williams and his friend Guadalupe Alvarez were stabbed. A bouncer who tried to break up the fight suffered a minor stab wound to his hand, according to police reports.

Williams died and Alvarez survived.

Prosecutors have said there’s no evidence the victim had any gang ties. Williams’ friends and family have described him as a sociable person who made friends easily and was an avid skateboarder.