Matthew Queen murder trial scheduled July 6

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Matthew Queen, charged with murder in the killing of a member of the so-called “Bakersfield 3,” is scheduled to stand trial this summer.

A Superior Court judge on Friday set Queen’s trial for July 6, with a readiness hearing June 25. The case could be postponed depending on attorney and courtroom availability, among other factors.

Prosecutors say Queen, 44, tortured and killed Micah Holsonbake in March 2018. Holsonbake’s severed arm turned up in the Kern River months later; the rest of his body remains missing.

Baylee Despot, Queen’s former girlfriend, is also charged in the slaying. She disappeared in April 2018 and hasn’t been heard from since.

Queen and Despot tortured Holsonbake in a garage to extract information about a gun they believed he stole, according to prosecutors and testimony at Queen’s preliminary hearing.

The garage where Holsonbake was questioned was owned by Matthew Tyler Vandecasteele, 34. Vandecasteele is charged with kidnapping, conspiracy and manufacturing an assault weapon.

Queen also faces charges of torture, kidnapping, assault with a firearm on a person, assault on a person with force likely to result in great bodily injury, burglary, making terroristic threats, manufacturing an assault weapon, possession of an assault rifle, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon and resisting arrest.

Two people testified at the hearing that Queen kidnapped and pointed a gun at them in separate incidents. It’s alleged Queen assembled and sold illegal AR-style rifles.

Holsonbake and Despot are members of what’s known as the “Bakersfield 3,” acquaintances who were killed or went missing within two months of each other in 2018. James Kulsad, the third person, was shot and killed in southwest Bakersfield on April 8, 2018. No arrests have been made in his killing.

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