A jury trial is expected to start Monday for a known Santa Maria criminal street gang member who has been charged in a homicide cold case dating back eight years.
Frank Adam Liendo Godinez, 33, has been charged with a single count of murder for the Dec. 10, 2005, shooting death of Santa Maria resident Michael Allen Christie, 37. He also faces a special allegation of using a gun to cause great bodily injury during the commission of a felony.
Christie was found dead from a single gunshot wound in the 900 block of South Russell Street outside an apartment complex.
Godinez, a member of the street gang Northwest, was identified as the prime suspect during the initial investigation into the shooting, according to police, but investigators did not have enough evidence at the time to charge him.
The homicide was considered a cold case until late spring 2011 when detectives developed new information about Christie’s murder that eventually led to Godinez’s arrest.
Godinez already was facing charges of attempted murder and a street-gang enhancement in connection with a March 13, 2011, stabbing at the Motel 6 at 2040 N. Priesker Lane when he was re-arrested on suspicion of murdering Christie. He was in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail.
Prosecutors have charged Godinez with the attempted murder of Joshua Lee Cederlof in the 2011 stabbing at the Motel 6, as well as enhancements of using a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony crime and causing great bodily injury.
The 33 year old also faces one felony count of street terrorism for allegedly attempting to kill Cederlof for the benefit of the street gang, in this case, the Santa Maria-based Northwest gang.
Godinez has a fairly lengthy criminal history, dating back to April 1999 when he was charged and convicted of robbery. In July of that same year, he was arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property in Santa Maria.
He was also arrested for possession of methamphetamine in August 2004 and felony evading a peace officer, reckless driving.
Godinez received two strikes for his 1999 robbery conviction, meaning if he’s found guilty at the conclusion of the upcoming murder trial, he automatically faces a sentence of life in state prison.
The trial will begin at 8:30 a.m. in front of Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Rigali in Santa Maria.