BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It will be at least a week before a realistic trial date is set in the case of two men charged with killing a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation counselor as he charged an electric vehicle.
Robert Pernell Roberts, 29, was charged with murder and robbery days after the Aug. 24 shooting death of Benny Alcala Jr. Co-defendant Sebastian Parra, 23, wasn’t charged until months later, after having testified as the prosecution’s key witness at Roberts’ preliminary hearing.
Due to the lengthy interval in bringing charges against Parra, his attorney, Timothy Hennessy, said last week he hadn’t received evidence gathered in the case and wasn’t prepared to go to trial.
On Tuesday, in a hearing before Superior Court Judge Eric Bradshaw, Hennessy said he expected to receive discovery soon. But he has previously said his trial schedule means he won’t be available for Parra’s trial until late this year or early 2024.
Roberts’ attorney, Lexi Blythe, said she has received the majority of the evidence.
Bradshaw set a hearing Feb. 15 to discuss the matter further and set new dates. The cases are currently consolidated, but a decision could be made to try Roberts and Parra separately.
At Roberts’ preliminary hearing, Parra testified Roberts targeted Alcala because he was charging an electric vehicle and he thought he had money. Parra said he had nothing to do with the killing and had only met Roberts that night. A grand jury later heard evidence and indicted Parra, who is also facing murder and robbery charges.