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Santa Maria man pleads not guilty to murder of Lompoc soldier

Walter Morales
Lompoc Police Department
Walter Morales

LOMPOC, Calif. - A Santa Maria man entered a not-guilty plea in court on Thursday for the murder of a US soldier on leave in Lompoc in 2019.

26-year-old Walter Alexander Morales Jr. of Santa Maria was arrested on July 17 following a long standoff with police at a residence on Thornburg Street and Battles Road in Santa Maria.

Morales has been wanted by law enforcement since 2019 for the shooting of 22-year-old Lompoc soldier Marlon Brumfield. The search for Morales was renewed in July after he was identified as the suspect in multiple drive-by shootings.

Morales' arraignment was scheduled for July 21, but he was unable to participate in the Zoom session due to medical reasons. He was charged with murder the previous day.

He is expected back in court to set his preliminary hearing on August 18 at 1:30 p.m. His preliminary is scheduled for August 28 at 8:30 a.m.

Morales is the second suspect to plead not guilty for the murder of Marlon Brumfield. The first, 25-year-old Francisco Gutierrez-Ortega of Santa Maria, was arrested and charged in October of 2019.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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Jessica Brest

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