Crime

Santa Maria man pleads not guilty in fatal shooting of Oceano teen

Armando Yepez, 21, of Santa Maria was arrested Thursday, May 17, 2012, on suspicion of homicide, commission of a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang and participation in a criminal street gang. Original story »
Armando Yepez, 21, of Santa Maria was arrested Thursday, May 17, 2012, on suspicion of homicide, commission of a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang and participation in a criminal street gang. Original story »

A Santa Maria man charged with murder in the drive-by shooting of an Oceano teenager has pleaded not guilty.

Armando Yepez, 21, entered his plea today in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to charges including murder and committing a crime to benefit a street gang, as well as several enhancements that could strengthen his penalty if he’s convicted.

Yepez is accused of shooting 17-year-old Gabriel Salgado to death in Oceano on Nov. 17.

He faces a possible enhanced penalty because of a strike on his record from a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon and committing a crime to benefit a street gang in 2007.

Yepez’s attorney, Gerald Carrasco, sought a bail reduction. But Judge Ginger Garrett denied the motion. Yepez remains in custody in San Luis Obispo County Jail without bail.

The case is scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing on June 20 at 11 a.m. and a preliminary hearing on June 27 at 1:30 p.m.

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