An Oceano man charged in a fatal fight last summer had been making sexual advances toward the victim’s girlfriend, according to a court document.
Joseph Adrian Munoz, 36, who appeared in court for a brief pre-trial hearing last week, has been charged with the June 21 killing of Joseph Padilla, 25, of Nipomo. According to a brief probable cause statement filed by the Sheriff's Office, there was animosity between the two men over Padilla’s girlfriend.
According to the document, the following occurred on June 21: Munoz, who was known to carry knives and firearms, encountered Padilla in front of a residence on the 1300 block of 19th Street in Oceano. A fight ensued, and Munoz allegedly stabbed Padilla multiple times during the scuffle. When sheriff deputies arrived on the scene, Padilla was bleeding and suffering “agonal breathing.”
He was taken to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, where he died.
Witnesses said Munoz had driven away in a Chevrolet Impala. Munoz allegedly told one witness that if Padilla died, he was “done.”
On June 23, Munoz was apprehended after a high-speed chase – the second time he’d been arrested after a high-speed police chase in seven years – and arrested on a parole violation related to a previous narcotics offense. Forensic specialists searched his car, where they allegedly found blood in the area of the driver’s seat and on the steering wheel.
Since he was in jail on a parole violation, the District Attorney’s Office didn’t rush murder charges. Munoz first appeared in court for murder in September. He has pleaded not guilty.
The last police chase Munoz was involved in also involved a dispute over a woman. According to a previous story in The Tribune, a Santa Maria man reported that Munoz, brandishing a knife, kicked in his door in 2006 and kidnapped his girlfriend. When police attempted to stop Munoz in Santa Maria, he sped off, leading police on a chase that exceeded 100 mph. Police later concluded that the woman had been dating both men separately.
Munoz will appear in court again Dec. 4 for a pretrial hearing.