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Santa Maria Murder Case Continues, Victim’s Sister Speaks Out

WATCH KCOY 12: Santa Maria Murder Case Continues, Victim’s Sister Speaks Out


“Justice” is what one Santa Maria family wants after they sat through another court appearance for the international gang known as MS-13.

17 suspects who police say committed several murders during a three year span.

KCOY 12 spoke exclusively with the family of one of the victims.

“He leaves a son and unborn child,” sister of one of the victim’s, Areli Cortez said.

Areli Cortez’s brother Javier Murillo and her cousin were killed in January – a period of time when Santa Maria was experiencing a major crime wave.

“I hope that my brother gets justice and not just him, the ten other people who were murdered,” Cortez said.

Ten people were killed between January 2013 and March of this year and there were another 14 victims who survived the violence.

“He was just walking down the street on his way home, we were waiting for him to come home for dinner and he never got there,” Cortez said.

Cortez’ cousin was also shot and killed in that shooting.

“These people killed him with no reason, he did not do anything to them,” Cortez said.

12 of those 17 suspects are now facing First Degree Murder. Police say all are associated or a part of the international gang known as MS-13.

Cortez praised the officers who made the arrests.

“It’s good to know that they got some bad people off the street,” Cortez said.

Five additional people are facing Conspiracy to Commit Murder. Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen says the case is being continued to December 2nd because the defense has asked for more time.

“The grand jury transcripts are not ready yet and they need time to get those transcripts and read the case and be adequately prepared to represent their clients,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen said.

The judge has issued a temporary ban on cameras in the courtroom.

“I want you guys, the media to be able to shoot it,” Cortez said.

The judge says he will revisit the idea when the case continues in December.

“They didn’t have the heart to not kill somebody, why do they deserve to not be put on TV for what they did,” Cortez said.

All 17 suspects face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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