Murder charges dismissed as three men plead no contest to lesser charges in fatal stabbing outside Wasco bar

Crime Watch

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Murder charges were dismissed Tuesday against three men in connection with a deadly stabbing outside a Wasco bar when they pleaded no contest to lesser charges.

Leonel Larios, 28, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter while Atanacio Larios, 26, and Joel Robles, 23, each entered no contest pleas to a charge of attempted voluntary manslaughter, according to court records. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

In addition to first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm were dismissed against the three men, court records show.

Wasco Pizza and Sports Bar was packed with revelers early May 12, 2018, when Leonel Larios, Atanacio Larios and Robles arrived, according to witness statements contained in court documents. An argument broke out after Robles boasted of his gang affiliation, prompting several rival gang members to shout the name of their gang, the documents said.

The two groups left the bar, according to witnesses, and the argument turned physical, the fight spreading onto Highway 46. Someone threw a bottle that struck the pickup of Robert Villanueva, Jr., who had also been inside the bar, and he confronted the men, according to the documents.

Several people attacked Villanueva, hitting him with a bottle, stabbing him and kicking him in the head, witnesses said. The 45-year-old died at the scene, and four others were wounded in the melee.

Atanacio and Leonel Larios and Joel Robles were identified as Villanueva’s assailants and were arrested a month later.

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