See update at the end of this post on the trial being delayed.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 13, 9:47 A.M.: Trial is scheduled to begin this morning for Saul Jose Salazar, who is accused of plunging a pocket knife into the chest and arm of his mother's house guest, killing the 33-year-old family friend.
Should the jury convict Salazar on one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon, the 29-year-old could be sent to state prison for 16 years.
Salazar and Leopoldo Antonio Verdugo Cabrera argued late the night of Oct. 3, 2010, because Salazar did not like the fact Cabrera was living in Salazar's mother's Santa Ana apartment.
Cabrera was stabbed several times in the upper body that night before stumbling into someone else's apartment, asking for help and collapsing. He was rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he died.
Salazar was also treated at a hospital for cuts he sustained to his hands before being jailed for Cabrera's murder. Santa Ana Police logs show Salazar's mother twice called cops out--two days before the attack and earlier the same day--concerning domestic disputes involving her son at the apartment on Fairview between Edinger and Warner avenues.
Salazar was already well known to law enforcement, having twice violated restraining orders obtained by his mother and been imprisoned for felony drug possession and misdemeanor burglary and possession of burglary tools. He'd also previously been jailed for separate incidents of: DUI; misdemeanor battery; misdemeanor battery and injury to telephone lines; and felony accessory after the fact.
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UPDATE, AUG. 14, 11:09 A.M.: Yesterday, the Weekly received an email from someone who attended Salazar's trial opening wondering why the lawyers convened around the judge, who then ended the hearing.
This morning, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) solved the mystery: "The jury trial against defendant Saul Jose Salazar, 29, Santa Ana, has been continued at the request of the defense," reads a statement from prosecutors.
The new jury trial date is Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. in Department C-43 of the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, the OCDA reports.