Two men that were arrested in connection with a January 2021 double homicide in Santa Barbara’s Eastside will face a trial, a Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge rules.
During a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Angel Varela and Oscar Trujillo-Gutierrez were held to answer on two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, all for the benefit of a criminal street gang and with the use of a firearm.
Special circumstances were also alleged the defendants committed the murders as members and to the benefit of a Carpinteria street gang that goes by the name Carpas.
The judge found there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
On the evening of January 3, 2021, Varela, Trujillo-Gutierrez and a juvenile attacked a group of rival gang members on the 1200 block of Liberty Street in Santa Barbara’s Eastside neighborhood.
The Santa Barbara Police Department investigated the case and allege the three suspects used a firearm that killed 17-year-old Angel Castillo and 18-year-old Omar Montiel-Hernandez while injuring two other teenagers.
“Angel Castillo loved his family, especially his little brother. He dreamed one day of owning his own autobody shop. His loss has had a big impact on everyone that knew him,” according to an online fundraiser posted after his death.
“Omar Montiel-Hernandez was a great brother and always looked out for his younger siblings. When Omar turned 18, he told his mother it was his turn to start taking care of her. Omar would often tell his mother, La vida es tan bonita (Life is beautiful),” the fundraiser stated.
Varela and Trujillo-Gutierrez will be arraigned on the Information on December 11, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. in Department 12 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.
January 3, 2021: Two Dead and Two More Injured in Eastside Shooting
April 8, 2021: Three Arrests Made in Eastside Double Homicide
. April 28, 2021: Additional Arrests Made in Eastside’s Double Homicide