A third person of the four accused of killing a man at the Farmhouse Motel in Paso Robles last year has entered into a plea agreement, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
Tabatha Brown, 30, of San Luis Obispo, pleaded guilty Tuesday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to five criminal counts, including residential burglary and being an accessory to a crime. She faces 14 years and eight months in state prison at her sentencing Sept. 6.
As a condition of the agreement, the murder charge against Brown will be dropped.
Brown is the third defendant to change her plea from not guilty to guilty or no contest in the same case.
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No contest pleas are similar to guilty pleas in that they typically have a punitive effect, but differences exist in how they can be applied in civil court to show whether the acts were committed.
Each of the four defendants was accused in the murder of Robert Kenichi Uyeno, who was found lying face down with his throat slashed Aug. 22, 2011, in his room at the Farmhouse Motel in Paso Robles. Another woman, Jennifer Velten, entered a plea of guilty to murder at a hearing in July before Judge John Trice in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. Velten’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23, and she faces 15 years to life in state prison.
A third defendant accused in the killing, Alberto Fierros, pleaded no contest to murder; his sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 28. Fierros faces 25 years to life in state prison. A fourth defendant, John Wesley Barrett, has been found incompetent to stand trial.
According to a search warrant filed by Paso Robles police, the group talked on the night of the attack about how the 55-year-old victim had reportedly locked women in his bedroom and raped them.
Uyeno didn’t have a local criminal record of any sex crime.
The four suspects allegedly planned to beat up Uyeno and steal his drugs. According to the search warrant, Barrett held Uyeno while Fierros pummeled him in the face and stomach with his fists for about two minutes.
Barrett told police Uyeno’s pulse was strong and he was breathing when the group left to return to their motel. But Velten and Fierros returned to Uyeno’s motel room after Velten said she forgot her purse, Barrett told police.
When Velten and Fierros returned, Barrett told police he heard one of them say Fierros sliced the man’s throat.