Benjamin Vargas pled not guilty last Thursday to the first-degree murder of 26-year-old Santa Barbara resident Vincent Velasquez, who was stabbed to death earlier this month.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. arrested 20-year-old Vargas last Tuesday for his alleged involvement in a confrontation with Velasquez on the 6600 block of Abrego Road around 12:30 a.m. on May 15. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck set Vargas’ bail at $1 million during Thursday’s arraignment.
According to Ron Bamieh, Vargas’ private defense attorney, the prosecution’s case relies solely on eyewitness reports.
“We currently are investigating 87 pages of documents that the District Attorney has based their findings on,” Bamieh said. “In those pages, there is no forensics or physical evidence that point to my client even being there.”
Bamieh said the testimonial is inconclusive and lacks continuity.
“There seems to be a lot of ambiguity in the reports,” Bamieh said. “They appear to be relying on only one witness with a rather shaky identification and shaky evidence. We’re trying to figure out what the guy could have seen and not have seen and why his statements vary.”
According to SBCSD Public Information Officer Drew Sugars, detectives will not release further information as the case is still under investigation. Vargas is scheduled to appear again in court for his preliminary hearing on June 2.