MAN FACES TRIAL FOR STABBING AND MURDERING ACQUAINTANCE IN PARK AFTER DISPUTE OVER WHO WAS A BETTER SINGER
*Co-defendant has pleaded guilty in this case and is expected to testify in the trial
SANTA ANA - A man faces trial tomorrow for stabbing and murdering an acquaintance in a park after an argument over who was a better singer. Julian Sermano, 58, San Juan Capistrano, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of aggravated assault, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Thursday, June 10, 2010, in Department C-38, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Co-defendant Maurico Molina, 34, San Juan Capistrano, pleaded guilty Sept. 4, 2009, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He was sentenced May 21, 2010, to 11 years in state prison. Molina is expected to testify in the jury trial.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on June 6, 2007, Sermano is accused of being in San Juan Capistrano Park off Ortega Highway with acquaintances Molina and 39-year-old Blas Gutierrez. The defendant is accused of drinking in the park with his two companions as the three sat singing.
Sermano is accused of becoming angry and getting into an argument with Gutierrez, who complained about Sermano's singing and boasted that he was a better singer. The defendant is accused of getting into a physical fight with Gutierrez, which Molina attempted to break up. Molina began fighting with Gutierrez, pulled out a pocket knife, and stabbed the victim twice.
While Molina and Gutierrez were fighting, Sermano is accused of taking out a knife and attempting to stab the victim, missing and inadvertently stabbing Molina instead. When Molina fell to the ground, Sermano is accused of again turning on Gutierrez and repeatedly stabbing him after chasing him through the park.
Molina called 911 to receive help for his stab wound. Responding paramedics discovered Gutierrez nearby. Gutierrez and Molina were both transported to Mission Hospital. Gutierrez was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at the hospital, suffering from multiple stab wounds to his chest and stomach. Molina was hospitalized for several days for a lacerated liver from being stabbed.