Manslaughter defendant stomped on unconscious victim

May 14, 2016
Travis Woolf

Travis Woolf

One of the defendants on trial for killing a San Miguel man in 2014 appears to stomp on the victim as he lies unconscious outside the Elkhorn bar, in a video shown to jurors on Thursday. [Tribune]

On Sept. 7, 2014, Alvaro Medrano, 54, of San Miguel died during a fight outside the Elkhorn bar. Sergio Aranda, 36, and Travis Woolf, 37, both of whom were prison guards, are on trial for 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. Following their arrests, both suspects were terminated from Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County.

In the video taken from a surveillance camera at a neighboring business, Woolf punches Medrano several times in the head. After Medrano falls to the ground, Aranda runs over and appears to kick and stomp on Medrano.

“The guy who started the fight got hit really hard. … He’s unconscious or something,” said bartender Danielle Boatwright in one of the 911 calls.

The SLO County District Attorney’s Office argues that Medrano died from a blow to the head, as reported by the medical examiner, and that Aranda then kicked him while he was down leading to the charges of voluntary manslaughter. The trial will continue on Monday.


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12 Comments

  1. smile4thecamera says:

    I can see defending yourself alright, but when the guy is down on the ground after being punched several times, I fail to see how kicking him in the head was necessary. It sounds like alcohol fueled anger that got out of control. Cudos to Mr. Woolf for being such an amazing person (as someone stated below). I don’t know of many amazing people though that get in bar fights in the first place and then kill the guy when he’s down.

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  2. Rambunctious says:

    Stay out of bars….nothing good ever happens in them.

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  3. Pelican1 says:

    Another Mason?

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  4. Ishmael09p says:

    The incidents I witnessed occurred between 2010 and 2012, and had nothing to do with the case before the court.
    I will add that on subsequent occasions to those past events, Mr. Woolf returned and asked to be allowed entrance to the bar and that he was a perfect gentleman when refused – though on these occasions he was SOBER.

    As to malfeasance on the part of police, I won’t disagree, however it is not my place to presume to question a LEO’s application of his/her discretion in these matters. I have been on the kind end of such judgements myself. I remarked to the officer at the time that I thought Mr. Woolf was a time-bomb, and the officer (tactfully) reminded me of my right to my own opinions. I prefer to interpret the officer’s actions/inactions at the time as a reluctance (as he said) to ruin a man’s life over a barfight, (an opinion that I did not find wholly objectionable at the time).

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  5. almostgone says:

    If I was a CDC officer working a tower and saw an inmate kicking another in the head I would be duty bound to shoot the aggressor to stop their use of deadly force if that attack didn’t stop.CDC has taught this for years at In Service Training which they are supposed to do on a yearly basis.These officers know that it is deadly force.It is also popular with some younger officers to learn mixed martial arts which includes head butting if I recall correctly. Earlier articles suggest this was one of the tactics used by these two again if I recall correctly.Letting Woolf go to save his career was malfeasance on the part of the officers involved IMO.

    (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
  6. Ishmael09p says:

    Citizen speaks out of turn. The facts of this incident DO remain to be seen, and I made no attempt to address them.

    I did not know Mr. Medrano, nor do I know his family. I am peripherally acquainted with Mr. Woolf because I have (twice) removed him from a bar. I have been hit by him, and I saw him drop the knife when he saw the police approaching. I know the police weren’t eager to ruin his career because that’s what they told me when I pointed out to them Woolf’s knife on the ground.

    (25) 37 Total Votes - 31 up - 6 down
    • RainbowBrite says:

      Was this when he was younger and single if this ever even happened? because he’s a married man now with children. His wife is a Special Education Junior High Teacher and they are both very involved in their children’s sports and academics. They both come from exceptional families. The Woolf’s were assistant coaches on my daughters softball team and they were extremely dedicated to the task. My children go to school and are friends with theirs, they are amazing people. Mr. Woolf’s actions were justified, I am sorry that a tragedy came out of this, but when a group of men leave an establishment and call for back-up to return with reinforcement because of any type of problem 30 minutes earlier, you have every right to defend yourself. Good Luck to all!

      (-22) 42 Total Votes - 10 up - 32 down
  7. Perspicacious says:

    Witnesses said the guy who dies started the fight. However, stomping on the head of an unconscious guy? IMHO it should have been 2nd degree murder. But, like the poster below said, we don’t know ALL the facts and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if a jury exonerated Woolf.

    (-2) 18 Total Votes - 8 up - 10 down
  8. RainbowBrite says:

    Woolf is one of the nicest people I have ever known. You people that do not know him shouldn’t believe everything you read.. Every article about this case has been extremely one sided. Kaiser Bill, that sheriff deputy said a very fabricated story which was not even close to be true. Let’s let the jury decide, you know none of the facts that have been presented in this trial.

    (-18) 34 Total Votes - 8 up - 26 down
  9. Ishmael09p says:

    Woolf has been a dangerous, angry drunk for years. He has been barred for life from several north-county bars for striking not only patrons, but also employees. During at leat one of these instances he brandished a knife — not at the persons he originally fought with, but at the bouncers who ended the fight and required his exit from the bar.
    The police were reluctant to encourage a proper complaint because Woolf was known to them and they didn’t want to ruin his career.
    Mr. Medrano’s death may have technically been an accident, but it was an accident that Woolf had been practicing at for years.

    Crucify him.

    (27) 41 Total Votes - 34 up - 7 down
    • Citizen says:

      Ishmael09p is part of the Alvaro Medrano family/friends. Better wait on All the facts from the trial. The article above doesn’t tell the whole story.

      (-11) 27 Total Votes - 8 up - 19 down
      • Kaiser Bill says:

        In an earlier story, a former bar bouncer and now a Sheriff’s Deputy said Woolf had anger and alcohol issues, an explosive combination. Woolf should have been removed from his Prison Guard job years ago. How many prisoners has he mistreated and abused over the years?

        (26) 38 Total Votes - 32 up - 6 down

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