BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter Friday in the deadly stabbing of a man in Oildale last year after his first trial ended in a hung jury.
Jesse Lopez, 35, entered the plea in exchange for the dismissal of a charge of first-degree murder, court records show. Before the plea agreement, he had been scheduled for retrial after a mistrial was declared in December when a jury deadlocked in the case.
The public defender representing Lopez argued at trial his client acted in self-defense when he stabbed 53-year-old Tracy Scott Elliott near a smoke shop in Oildale.
At the time of the mistrial, a prosecutor said some jurors indicated there was a strong difference of opinion over whether Lopez acted in self-defense and reasonably believed he had to stab Elliott before the other man stabbed him.
Lopez has been held without bail since his arrest in the Feb. 4 killing near Sunshine Smoke Shop on Roberts Lane and Belmont Avenue. Sentencing is set for next month.