Courts: SJB official charged with assault, battery

Hearings delayed in three Hollister murder cases

San Juan Bautista City Councilmember Dan DeVries has been charged with three misdemeanors in relation to a May 24 suspected domestic violence incident.

San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper’s office on June 21 filed charges of battery of a non-cohabiting spouse, assault by any means creating great injury and violation of a court order.

DeVries, 54, was arrested the night of May 24 when the alleged victim called 911 to report that DeVries had assaulted her, according to the sheriff’s office. The alleged incident happened at a residence on the 400 block of Fifth Street in San Juan Bautista.

Daniel DeVries

Deputies arrested DeVries on suspicion of domestic violence. He was released on $50,000 bail the same evening, according to authorities.

One of the charges against DeVries is related to his alleged violation of an emergency protective order prohibiting him from contacting the victim, according to court records. He allegedly contacted the woman who accused him on May 25.

DeVries is now subject to a criminal protective order, filed June 25, prohibiting him from contacting the victim for three years, the court file details.

Authorities have not released details about any injuries the victim might have suffered in the May 24 incident.

DeVries’ next hearing on the case is scheduled for July 18 at San Benito County Courthouse, for a pretrial conference.

DeVries could not be reached for comment.

Murder trial delayed

The murder trial for Jose Antonio Barajas, who is accused of killing a 19-year-old Hollister woman in 2014 and then hiding out in Mexico for nearly four years, has been delayed again.

Barajas will return to court at the San Benito County Courthouse 9am July 18, for a hearing to set his trial date.

Jose Antonio Barajas

Barajas has been in custody at the local jail since authorities extradited him from Mexico in July 2018 for charges related to the shooting death of Ariana Zendejas. He is charged with murder, three counts of attempted murder, kidnapping and shooting at an occupied motor vehicle.

Zendejas was shot and killed during a confrontation on public streets between Barajas and another man, according to authorities.

Barajas was a passenger in a vehicle chasing another car that had four occupants, including the male driver with whom Barajas had previously been feuding. Zendejas was a passenger in the back seat of the vehicle that Barajas was chasing.

Barajas opened fire with a handgun on the victims’ vehicle near B and West streets, hitting Zendejas with at least one of the bullets, according to police. The driver of the victims’ vehicle drove Zendejas to Hazel Hawkins Hospital, where police responded shortly after the shooting. Zendejas was pronounced dead later that evening.

Barajas fled the area with the two occupants of the vehicle he was traveling in, and later left the country, according to police. He was arrested July 12, 2018, in Guadalajara, Mexico in relation to the Hollister shooting. He was extradited from Mexico and flown to San Jose, where he was transferred to the San Benito County Jail.

The charges against Barajas also include “special allegations” for his use of a firearm in the crime, according to court documents. If convicted, Barajas faces life in prison.

Prelim hearing postponed for 2014 murder

The preliminary hearing for a Hollister man accused of killing Raul De La Rosa in 2014 was delayed last week.

Christopher Larios, 32, of Hollister, appeared July 11 at San Benito County Courthouse to schedule his preliminary hearing for his murder trial. However, that hearing was continued to Aug. 1, according to District Attorney Candice Hooper.

Christopher Larios

Larios is charged with a felony count of murder, in addition to an enhancement for the use of a firearm. The charges relate to the Dec. 23, 2014 death of De La Rosa at a residence on the 2000 block of Scenic Circle in southeast Hollister.

Police arrested Larios when he entered the Hollister police station April 21, 2019, and told officers he wanted to make a statement about the 2014 murder. Based on that interview, officers arrested Larios on suspicion of killing De La Rosa.

He remains in the county jail in lieu of $1.05 million bail.

Officers have not released any details about Larios’ motive or events leading up to the 2014 murder.

Yoon Ji murder trial delayed

The murder trial for Yoon Ji’s husband and his alleged mistress was delayed to July 31 at a hearing last week at San Benito County Courthouse, according to authorities.

Sang Ji, 49, and Jung Choi, 45, appeared for a trial confirmation hearing at San Benito County Courthouse July 12. They were scheduled to return July 22 for a jury trial on charges that they murdered Yoon Ji in 2017, but that date was vacated, DA Candice Hooper said.

Sang Ji and Jung Choi

The two suspects will next appear in court July 31 for a hearing on motions and the beginning of the trial, Hooper said.

The two suspects remain in custody at San Benito County Jail on suspicion of murdering Yoon Ji. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Sang Ji and Yoon Ji owned Hollister Laundromat before Yoon Ji’s death. Sheriff’s deputies found Yoon Ji’s remains off Salinas Grade Road between San Benito and Monterey counties, according to authorities. The two suspects were arrested immediately after the remains were found.

Yoon Ji’s daughter and sister, who live in Los Angeles, reported the woman missing on Dec. 2, 2017. The daughter told sheriff’s authorities that she had not heard from her mother for about two weeks, according to police.

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