Crime

Prison guards plead not guilty in death of San Miguel man outside bar

Travis Woolf appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday, Oct. 2, where he pleaded not guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of San Miguel resident Alvaro Jaramillo Medrano.
Travis Woolf appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday, Oct. 2, where he pleaded not guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of San Miguel resident Alvaro Jaramillo Medrano. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Two state correctional officers charged with manslaughter in the beating death of a local vineyard manager outside a San Miguel bar pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

With the courtroom filled with supporters, Travis Richard Woolf, 36, of San Miguel and Sergio Montalvo Aranda, 35, of Salinas both entered pleas of not guilty to single felony counts of voluntary manslaughter in the death of San Miguel resident Alvaro Jaramillo Medrano.

Prosecutors allege that about 10:45 p.m. Sept. 7, Woolf, Aranda and another person left the Elkhorn Bar on the 1200 block of Mission Street to confront Medrano and four others.

A fight ensued, lasting approximately 2 minutes and spanning more than 90 feet of sidewalk and roadway, according to a case report from the District Attorney’s Office.

During the fight, Woolf allegedly punched Medrano on the left side of the head with a closed right fist, and Medrano immediately fell to the ground, according to the DA’s report.

Medrano stood back up and took an unsteady step with his arms at his side, and Woolf hit him again on the head, sending him back to the ground, the report said.

When he fell, Medrano struck his head on the ground. Aranda then allegedly stomped his right foot downward onto Medrano’s head, causing Medrano’s body to writhe.

The report further alleges that prior to attacking Medrano, Aranda kicked another member of Medrano’s group in the face as the man was lying on the ground, causing injury to his teeth and nose.

Medrano was taken to Twin Cities Community Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

He was a well-known manager at a number of North County vineyards and leaves behind five adult children.

Both Woolf and Aranda are guards assigned to housing units at Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County. They were placed on administrative leave after their arrests Sept. 19, though a spokesman for the prison could not confirm whether their leave is paid.

Staff at the Elkhorn Bar have declined to comment on the incident.

Both men remain out of custody on $100,000 bail and are due back in court for a preliminary hearing Oct. 30.

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