Witness in ‘Bakersfield 3’ case arrested on gun charges

Crime Watch

Matthew Queen appears in court with an attorney for his arraignment on charges including murder. File image

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A witness in the case against Matthew Queen — the man accused of torturing and killing a member of what’s become known as the “Bakersfield 3” — has been arrested on gun charges.

Caleb Seiler, 32, pleaded not guilty Friday to six gun-related felonies and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He’s held on $150,000 bail.

Seiler was taken into custody Wednesday after probation officers searched his home and found a short-barreled AR-15 style rifle, two 9mm handgun frames, two silencers, ammunition and a high-capacity magazine, according to probation officials.

A convicted felon, Seiler is prohibited from owning firearms or ammunition.

In May, Seiler testified at length during Queen’s preliminary hearing. He said he, Queen and a third man, Micah Holsonbake, were involved in the illegal manufacture of AR-style rifles. They sold some and kept others, he said.

Seiler testified Queen and two other men once took him from his bed in the middle of the night and drove him around the Oildale area while questioning him.

At one point, Queen pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him, Seiler testified. It turned out to be a BB gun, he said.

Queen and the others let him go after removing the batteries from his cellphone, Seiler said.

Queen is charged with torture and murder in Holsonbake’s death, and faces dozens of other charges, including multiple counts of kidnapping, possession of an assault rifle and manufacturing an assault weapon. It’s alleged he killed Holsonbake over a missing gun.

Also charged in Holsonbake’s killing is Baylee Despot, who disappeared in April 2018 and hasn’t been heard from since. It’s alleged she and Queen — whom she dated — tortured Holsonbake to get information about the missing gun. 

The garage where prosecutors say Holsonbake was tortured and killed was owned by Matthew Tyler Vandecasteele. He’s charged with kidnapping, conspiracy and manufacturing an assault weapon.

Holsonbake, Despot and James Kulstad are known as the “Bakersfield 3” because they were acquaintances who died or went missing within two months of each other in 2018.

Queen and Vandecasteele have hearings scheduled June 25. Seiler is due back in court July 14.

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