A judge on Wednesday ordered Luis Monroy Bracamontes and his wife to stand trial in the Oct. 24, 2014, slayings of two Sacramento-area deputies, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle that already has gone on for more than a year.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White found that after three days of testimony in a preliminary hearing that there is enough evidence to warrant a trial. He set the next hearing in the case for June 17.
Bracamontes, who faces the death penalty, is accused of a daylong rampage that began in a Motel 6 parking lot on Arden Way and ended in Auburn.
Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver was killed at the motel; Placer County sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis Jr. was killed in an ambush in an Auburn cul de sac.
Bracamontes, who has acted out in numerous court sessions, remained silent most of Wednesday, following a stern admonishment from Judge White the day before.
But once it became clear that White would order a trial and began to read the charges against Bracamontes and his wife, the suspect began to grin broadly.
His wife, Janelle Monroy, was seated at a separate table from her husband. She held her hands over her face while she appeared to weep quietly.
Her lawyer, Pete Kmeto, argued unsuccessfully that there is no evidence she took part in the violence, that instead she was following orders from her husband after he killed Oliver. “Ms. Monroy is being told what to do by an armed man who has just shot a Sacramento deputy,” Kmeto argued.
Prosecutor Rod Norgaard disagreed, saying she helped move the rifle that killed Davis from one carjacked car to another and “was in for a penny, in for a pound” in the crime spree.
Neither suspect entered a plea Wednesday.
White’s ruling came after Norgaard and co-prosecutor Dave Tellman presented testimony from 16 witnesses.
Unlike past appearances, Bracamontes remained silent until White asked him if he agreed to waive time in the case until the next hearing in June. “I got no choice,” Bracamontes said.
“Yes, you do,” White countered, in reference to the fact that suspects can demand to go to trial rather than agree to delays. He then agreed to the waiver.
As he was being escorted out of court following the hearing, Bracamontes paused briefly as he passed by the judge.
“See you again,” he told White.