Crime

3 accused gang members denied bail in shooting death of Oceano father

Sister of Oceano shooting victim speaks out after court hearing

After a court hearing for three men accused of killing her brother in April 2019 in Oceano, Daniel Fuentes Sr.'s sister Maria Rodriguez said Tuesday, August 20, 2019, that she hopes her family can begin to move on now.
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After a court hearing for three men accused of killing her brother in April 2019 in Oceano, Daniel Fuentes Sr.'s sister Maria Rodriguez said Tuesday, August 20, 2019, that she hopes her family can begin to move on now.

Three alleged members of the South County street gang Oceano 13 will remain in County Jail as their murder cases play out for the shooting death of Daniel Fuentes Sr.

Brothers Robert and Gabriel Garay of San Luis Obispo and Nathaniel Jara of Avila Beach appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court Tuesday morning to be arraigned on charges of murder.

Those charges carry special sentencing enhancements for having allegedly been committed to benefit a street gang.

About half of the courtroom audience appeared to be family and supporters of Fuentes’ family, many of whom wore black T-shirts bearing Fuentes’ portrait. They said after the hearing that they feel safe knowing the men will remain in jail.

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Outside the courtroom after the hearing friends and family of victim Daniel Fuentes, Sr., spoke to the media. From the left: Marlena Santos, girlfriend; Aria Rodriguez, sister; and Celina Austin, cousin. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Jara and Gabriel Garay, both 21, and Robert Garay, 28, entered no plea while Superior Court Judge Dodie Harman ordered each to meet with attorneys with the county Public Defender’s Office to determine if that office will be able to represent any or all of them.

All three are scheduled to be back in court to enter pleas on Sept. 10.

The men were each in San Luis Obispo County Jail Friday on separate, unrelated cases when they were re-arrested in custody on suspicion of Fuentes’ murder.

The arrests, announced at a Monday news conference at the Sheriff’s Office, were the result of a four-month investigation that included information provided by the public, Sheriff Ian Parkinson said Monday.

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Daniel Fuentes Sr., 41, died early April 3, 2019, inside the home of a neighbor after he was shot in the 2200 block of Beach Street in Oceano. SLO County Sheriff's Office

On Tuesday, Harman ordered that the defendants’ bail in their previous cases be revoked and that they remain in jail custody without bail.

A representative from the Public Defender’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment early Tuesday afternoon.

Fuentes, 41, was found dead early on the morning of April 3 inside the home of a neighbor after he knocked on the door and told the residents inside that he had been shot, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Outside the courthouse following Tuesday’s hearing, Maria Rodriguez, Fuentes’ sister, told media that her family is grateful the three defendants are being held in jail.

“I feel safe, my family feels safe, I hope the community feels safe,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully this will be the start to me and my family ... moving on without my brother.”

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Matt Fountain is The San Luis Obispo Tribune’s courts and investigations reporter. A San Diego native, Fountain graduated from Cal Poly’s journalism department in 2009 and cut his teeth at the San Luis Obispo New Times before joining The Tribune as a crime and breaking news reporter in 2014.
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