Witness: Ex-speaker's son spoke of crime

SAN DIEGO John Murray, 20, testified at a preliminary hearing for Esteban Nunez and three other men accused of murdering college student Luis Santos outside a fraternity party.

Murray testified that Nunez told him he stabbed someone in the shoulder and Ryan Jett, another defendant, stabbed someone, too. Murray said the confrontation began as a verbal exchange and escalated.

Prosecutors said Santos bled to death, another man was stabbed in the back and stomach, a third victim was stabbed in the shoulder and a fourth was punched in the eye and had to undergo plastic surgery.

The preliminary hearing is expected to last three days, after which the judge will determine if there is enough evidence to hold a trial for the defendants, who include the younger Nunez, Jett, Rafael Garcia and Leshanor Thomas.

Murray testified at the hearing that his friends went to a party during a trip to San Diego and he stayed at Garcia's brother's home in San Diego. He was awoken at 2:45 a.m. and told the group he was returning home to Sacramento in his truck.

Esteban Nunez and Jett told him that they got into a fist fight with some fraternity students and Jett was stabbed in the leg, Murray testified. Esteban Nunez told him that he, Garcia and Jett pulled out knives to defend themselves, Murray said.

As they drove back to Sacramento, Jett burned some clothes and the group discussed throwing the knives in the river. Esteban Nunez tried to reassure Murray that he didn't kill anyone and that he only stabbed someone in the shoulder.

Attorney Paul Pfingst said Garcia, the son of an administrative law judge in Sacramento, ran when the fight broke out and wasn't there when Santos was stabbed.

Murray testified that Garcia "shouldn't be held responsible because he wasn't in the fight."

Nunez's attorney, Brad Patton, said the victim claimed he had a weapon right before the fight began. Deputy District Attorney Jill DiCarlo said none of the victims or their friends had a weapon.

Esteban Nunez and Garcia are free on bond, but their co-defendants remain in custody.



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