Prison guards acquitted of bar brawl manslaughter
May 27, 2016
A San Luis Obispo jury acquitted two former prison guards Thursday of manslaughter charges relating to a deadly bar fight in San Miguel. The jury acquitted the defendants of the lesser charges they faced, as well.
On Sept. 7, 2014, San Miguel man Alvaro Medrano, a 54-year-old vineyard manager and consultant, died during a fight outside the Elkhorn bar. Sergio Aranda, 36, and Travis Woolf, 37, were charged with voluntary manslaughter in the case.
Following their arrests they were both terminated from the Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County.
During the trial, prosecutors played surveillance footage from a neighboring business which showed Woolf punching Medrano several times in the head.
After Medrano fell to the ground, Aranda ran over and appeared to kick and stomp on Medrano. Prosecutors said Aranda kicked Medrano in the head while he was lying unconscious.
The defendants’ attorneys, Ilan Funke-Bilu and Gerald Carrasco, argued that Aranda and Woolf acted in self defense.
In a 911 call, bartender Danielle Boatwright said, “The guy who started the fight got hit really hard. … He’s unconscious or something.”
Medrano died of blunt-force trauma.
On Thursday, the jury delivered not guilty verdicts on charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury or death.