DNA evidence links Vallejo man to January stabbing in SLO, police say

Using DNA matches off a knife, San Luis Obispo police detectives were able to identify a suspect in an attempted murder case, and then arrested a Vallejo man for the alleged crime.

In a news release issued Thursday, police Lt. Jeff Smith said Austin Sarna, 21, was arrested Wednesday in Vallejo after the DNA evidence linked him to an attack that occurred in January.

Sarna was taken into custody without incident, and was transported to San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he remains on a no-bail warrant.

Smith said that at 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 20, police were called to the intersection of Broad and Monterey streets on the report of a man who had been stabbed and was bleeding profusely from his arm.

Police learned that several men got into an altercation with two or more others. Trevor Tice, 27, of Atascadero, was stabbed multiple times in the back and arm. Zachary Lerno, 26, was stabbed once in the head.

"During the investigation there were limited details regarding the suspect due to a lack of witnesses and levels of intoxication," Smith said. But the knife used in the attack was found by officers and taken as evidence.

The suspected weapon was sent to a state crime lab for analysis. One DNA sample matched Tice; another matched Sarna. Investigators then contacted the two male victims and witnesses, who identified Sarna as one of the men in the altercation.