BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man charged with murder and dozens of other crimes in the death of a man who is part of what’s become known as the “Bakersfield 3” pleaded not guilty to all charges Thursday.
Matthew Queen, 43, is held without bail and next due in court on July 20.
Queen and Baylee Despot — who has been missing since 2018 — are charged with torture and murder in the death of Micah Holsonbake, whose arm was recovered in the Kern River but the rest of his body has not been found.
A third defendant, Matthew Tyler Vandecasteele, is charged with kidnapping and conspiracy in the case.
Queen asked to use Vandecasteele’s detached garage to extract information from Holsonbake, prosecutors said in announcing the charges last month. Queen and Despot allegedly arrived at the garage with Holsonbake and placed zip ties on his arms and Despot retrieved a knife.
Holsonbake was killed, and Queen and Vandecasteele researched how to dissolve a human body, according to prosecutors.
The Bakersfield 3 refers to three friends who were either killed or went missing within two months of each other in 2018.
Holsonbake was last seen around Flower Street and Mount Vernon Avenue on March 23, 2018. Months later. an arm identified as belonging to Holsonbake was found in the Kern River near Hart Park.
About a month after Holsonbake disappeared, Despot, Queen’s former girlfriend, went missing. She has not been heard from since.
Both Despot and Holsonbake knew Queen and ran in the same circles.
The third person — James Kulstad — was shot and killed in southwest Bakersfield on April 8, 2018. No one has been arrested in his killing.
He knew both Holsonbake and Despot.