Prison guards acquitted of bar brawl manslaughter

May 27, 2016
Travis Woolf

Travis Woolf

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.

Alvaro Medrano

Alvaro Medrano

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.


It’s hard to feel sorry for Medrano who went and gathered up a gang and came back to jump others. He doesn’t sound like the nice guy people are trying to paint him as. Nice guys don’t do that.


Gee, I wonder what I would have done if I was confronted by two men in a bar that wanted to kick my ass. Maybe I would have gathered up my “gang” (of course it was a “gang”, he was Hispanic after all) as well. And that “gang” didn’t do much to help Mr. Medrano did they? He ended up dead. Oh well, just another Latino off our streets, right? And two fine upstanding “Peace Officers” (my ass!) that should be heaped with praise are free. Now CDCR will probably have to rehire these two and have to pay them all those back wages they’ll more than likely claim they are due. Win Win for the “good guys”! JEEEEZ!

Kaiser Bill

The fix was in.

CHP Captain Marty Whited, passed out drunk in his car, has his DUI charges dismissed.

John Ryan Mason, SLO Fireman, brains a guy in a bar over a Facebook post, is acquitted of assault.

These two prison guards curb stomp a guy outside a bar following a dispute, acquitted of manslaughter!

There is a pattern here involving corruption and SLO county public safety officers who face criminal charges in SLO County.

The Federal Justice Department should investigate the SLO County Criminal courts, but they are too busy with nonsense like hate crimes.

Kaiser Bill

Apparently my post went over your head.

There is a pattern of corruption with the SLO county Criminal Court system and law enforcement and public safety personnel who have been indicted.

Feel free to comment on that issue.


It helps when you are a public employee and the organized-crime thugs of the public-sector unions are covering up for you.

Its very obvious that the courts in SLO County are prostitutes of the highest bidders.


The justice system only works for people that have the assets to hire the best lawyers.This case is one of many injustices that have happened over the years in this county.


Déjà vu all over again…another Mason mockery of justice.


I am stunned that they were acquitted. Wow.

Jorge Estrada

This may be a legal murder but it is still murder. Being armed with deadly punches and using them on a little guy is a premeditated behavior. Self defense would be if the little guy followed this goon some distance and would not yield to a verbal warning. Even with that persistence, for whatever reason, this goon is professionally trained to disarm not practice his death punches. Blessings to the Medrano Family, all of us.


Let’s see here….Stomping a guy on the head when he is unconscious on the ground is self defense? What, the guy threw the first punch so he should die for it? Now we have two more violent assholes running around free…maybe they could get a job at the SLO Fire Department? One has to wonder about the kind of people on the jury. How could two guys bearing one guy to death be self defense? What is wrong with the people in this county? Crash your car and kill a cop, it’s murder….beat a guy to death and walk? WTF? Incomprehensible….


Hire Ilan Funke-Bilu. He can beat almost any charges.


Not Guilty all counts… Funke-Bilu is the man!


Where is the other guy’s mugshot? How can these 2 kill someone after they’ve been drinking in a bar and not get convicted of anything?! If someone starts a fight with you in a bar, you walk away and let the bouncer handle it. Bullshit!


There was no bouncer, and the Sheriff’s Dept. that covers San Miguel is 5 to 20 minutes away depending on where they are patrolling in the North County at the time. According to the bartender, Medrano and his son in law were the ones picking a fight and then challenging the guards to a fight. The guards even bought them a round of drinks to smoothe over the situation. They (Medrano and son in law) left and returned with a gang of men and waited outside for the guards to leave.