The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office said Friday it will not seek the death penalty against the suspect accused of fatally stabbing a Los Angeles-area man in a September Davis bar fight.
The six suspects appeared in court in Friday, but were not formally arraigned as the court sought to ensure each of the men was properly represented by legal counsel. The men – Victor Vergara, Carlos Biviescas, Martyn Contreras, Anthony Rivera, Zackary Sandeno and Joseph Sandeno – will be expected to enter a plea when the case resumes May 16.
Yolo County’s Supervising Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton told Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg the District Attorney’s Office would not seek the death penalty for Vergara, the man accused of wielding the knife in the killing.
Killed in the Sept. 19 brawl at KetMoRee on Davis’ G Street was Peter Alexander Gonzales, 23, of Hacienda Heights. Gonzales was a student at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and worked with special-needs children.
The fatal stabbing was big news in the mostly sleepy college town of 66,000 people. In the wake of the incident, Davis instituted a moratorium on new bars and nightclubs as the city reviewed its policies.
The Davis City Council passed an ordinance in April that lifted the moratorium and requires establishments to apply for entertainment permits. The new ordinance takes effect May 21, police Chief Darren Pytel said.
KetMoRee, a Thai eatery on G Street in the heart of downtown Davis, had its alcohol license suspended in February by California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The establishment is a hot spot for late-night entertainment for UC Davis students and other young people in Yolo County.
Davis has seen a surge in violent incidents and cases of public drunkenness over the past four years, according to police data. This increase coincided with nightclubs opening in the G Street area, including late-night club scenes at KetMoRee, Tres Hermanas and G Street WunderBar.