Prison guard charged in San Miguel killing has history of bar fights

November 13, 2015
Travis Woolf

Travis Woolf

A prison guard who is charged with manslaughter for his role in a deadly San Miguel bar fight has a history of fighting at alcohol establishments, according to a motion filed by San Luis Obispo County prosecutors. [Tribune]

On Sept. 7, 2014, San Miguel resident Alvaro Medrano, 54, died during a fight outside the Elkhorn bar. Sergio Aranda, 36, and Travis Woolf, 37, both of whom are prison guards, face charges of voluntary manslaughter stemming from the bar fight.

Aranda and Woolf, also residents of San Miguel, have pleaded not guilty, saying they acted in self defense. They are currently on paid administrative leave from Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County.

Prosecutors in the case are seeking to introduce evidence showing Woolf has a history of bar fights. The prosecution filed a motion stating Woolf was involved in four documented bar fights previously, and he was banned for life from one establishment due to numerous altercations.

The motion includes police reports and a statement from a Paso Robles bar employee-turned-sheriff’s deputy. The deputy, Joshua Krieger, stated Woolf received a lifetime ban from the Kilt Bar because he was involved in numerous physical altercations.

Woolf was also cited for battery following an incident at Mother’s Tavern in San Luis Obispo in 2003. Additionally, he was arrested for being drunk in public at the Mid-State Fair in 2012, according to the motion.

The deadly fight in San Miguel followed a dispute over jukebox music between the prison guards and Medrano, according to court testimony.

Tensions appeared to be defused after Woolf and Aranda bought beers for Medrano. However, Medrano left the bar and returned with a posse of men.

Medrano then looked at the guards and said, “We’ll be waiting for you.” A fight ensued when the guards exited the bar.

Prosecutors allege Woolf punched out Medrano and Aranda kicked him in the head as he was lying unconscious. Medrano died of blunt-force trauma.

Medrano was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. Woolf is 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds.

Friends and relatives have written 17 letters to the court in support of Woolf. They described him as a loving family man.



  1. cencali says:

    This prison is notorious for producing scum guards. A former guard wrote a book about the rogue guard prison gangs. His case went to trial but because enough people wouldn’t drop dime, these last group of abusers got off, walk free and are now patrolling our high ways and doing undercover work. Beware of who you think a “good” cop is when our government covers up and shuffles around these sick bastards that we and prisoners need protection from!

    (-6) 16 Total Votes - 5 up - 11 down

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