A 17-year-old charged with murder in the Nov. 2 shooting death of a Santa Maria man will not be tried as an adult after a Juvenile Court judge handed down his decision Friday.
The case against Carlos V., whose last name is being withheld due to his age, will continue in Juvenile Court after Judge Arthur Garcia determined the crime did not warrant a transfer to Santa Maria Superior Court, according to Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu.
The decision was made under a new determination process established by Proposition 57, which was passed by California voters in 2016 and stripped prosecutors of the authority to determine whether a juvenile should be tried in Superior Court.
A Juvenile Court judge now must weigh a report on a minor's behavioral patterns and social history prepared with several factors — their delinquent history, the gravity of the offense and degree of criminal sophistication and the possibility of rehabilitation — before determining whether they should be tried as a child or adult.
The charges against Carlos V. and his co-defendant -- 17-year-old Augustin F. -- stem from the fatal shooting of Salomon Morales Robles, 37. Morales Robles' unresponsive body was discovered by Santa Maria Police in the 1200 block of West Bethel Lane. While investigating his death, officers received another disturbance call, this time in the 1900 block of South Ybarra Avenue, around 12:07 a.m. Nov. 3.
Responding officers found two unnamed victims who also had reportedly sustained gunshot wounds. They were transported to the hospital, treated for their injuries and later released.
Three male juveniles were detained in connection to the shootings, with officers arresting Augustin on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. He was charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office on Nov. 6. Charges against Carlos V. were filed in early January.
Prosecutors and attorneys representing Augustin F. are scheduled to return to Garcia's courtroom Wednesday to set a transfer hearing date. Proceedings were delayed from January after the defense requested a postponement upon receiving a large amount of evidence relevant to the transfer hearing.