Try 1 month for 99¢
091517 Herrera trial 02.jpg

In this file photo is Arturo Herrera, right, speaking with his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sydney Bennett, after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in September. 

The man who was found guilty of murdering his younger brother in their Lompoc home in 2016 will wait until December to be sentenced and to see if a judge will consider his attorney's motion to retry the case.

Arturo Herrera, 32, was convicted for killing his younger brother Enrique in July 2016, at their home while their mother was away at work. In addition, the jury also found the special allegation -- use of a deadly weapon to commit the crime -- to be true, despite the fact that authorities never did find the murder weapon.

During a brief hearing Wednesday, Herrera's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sydney Bennett, indicated to the court that she was taking careful time gathering research and possibly interviewing jurors. She also promised to have a probation report filed by Dec. 6 per the judge's orders. 

On that date, Herrera is expected to be sentenced to 26 years to life.

Following the verdict in September, Bennett indicated she had plans to file motions for a new trial and that her office will be pursuing all avenues of appeal in the case "as we firmly believe in Mr. Herrera's innocence." 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens maintained that the jury came back with the right verdict, and all the evidence showed Arturo's guilt, and that lead detective Brian Scott conducted an extremely thorough investigation into the case to come to the right conclusion. 

Shortly after 1 p.m. July 4, 2016, first responders were dispatched to the 4300 block of West Ocean Avenue, after Arturo called 911, claiming that Enrique was hurt. Upon arrival, Enrique's bloodied, lifeless body was found on his bed, with blood splattered all over the wall in front of him, on his bedroom floor and door handle. 

Autopsy reports showed that Enrique died of severe blunt force head trauma, and a forensic pathologist testified that he suffered between seven to 15 blows to the head. 

Despite Arturo telling detectives he went to bed shortly after midnight July 4, a forensic cellphone analysis report revealed that he actually was up past 3 a.m. that day, accessing a video depicting a man being killed after a large stone was thrown at his head. 

There was no sign of forced entry into the home on the morning of the murder, but clear signs of "scene clean up," the prosecution argued, stating that Arturo did his laundry and showered after killing Enrique. The prosecution also argued that the pair got into a physical fight a few years ago at a Lompoc bar, which soured their relationship, serving as the possible motive for the murder.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


Courts/Public Safety Reporter