Stepdad attacks stepdaughter’s killer in Central Coast courtroom

January 22, 2024

Euren Balbuena after being punched in court


A brief fight erupted when a grieving stepfather attacked his stepdaughter’s killer in a Central Coast courtroom during the murderer’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday. [VC Star]

During the hearing in Ventura County Superior Court, relatives of the victim gathered to read impact statements. As the victim’s mother was giving her statement, the victim’s stepfather lunged at 33-year-old Euren Balbunea. The stepfather landed at least one punch before bailiffs separated the two men. 

Authorities removed the stepfather from the courtroom, and the impact statements continued about an hour later. Judge Anthony Sabo eventually sentenced Balbuena to 33 years to life in prison for three felony convictions, including the murder of Zaira Patino-Trejo, 31. 

By late in the week, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office had not filed a case with the DA’s office pertaining to the courtroom altercation. It is unclear whether sheriff’s personnel are investigating the incident.

On Feb. 27, 2020, responders found Patino-Trejo stabbed to death at the Woodside Apartments in Simi Valley following a domestic depute. Balbuena stabbed Patino-Trejo more than 30 times with multiple knives. Combined, Balbunea stabbed and slashed Patino-Trejo about 95 times, prosecutors said during the trial. 

In Nov. 2023, a jury convicted Balbuena of first-degree murder and battery causing great bodily harm. Jurors also convicted Balbuena of assault with a deadly weapon, which he committed against Patino-Trejo’s mother. 

Ariadna Avetisyan, Patino-Trejo’s mother, knew about the couple’s history of domestic violence and ongoing arguments, according to the DA’s office. Avetisyan came to the apartment during the deadly fight and attempted to leave with her daughter, but Balbuena would not let Patino-Trejo out of the home. 

Balbunea first slashed the mother twice in the head before attacking her daughter, prosecutors said. Avetisyan fled the apartment and found a bystander who called 911.


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I may not be a professional here, but IMHO, the nature of the crime suggests this piece of work is seriously psycho and no amount of incarceration is going to fix that. Why would there ever be even the hint of him being unleashed upon the general public ever again? I would not want to have to trust any panel of individuals to determine if someone capable of that kind of action was “rehabilitated”.

This gem of humanity will be treated to early release by our esteemed parole board. They believe every human monster out there can change for the better – victims be damned.

Why don’t we start using the death penalty?

Many states are bringing back capital punishment, I think California should lead the way and have a positive impact on our justice system.

30 years to life for such a brutal killing. Shows how lax our justice system has become. Minimally he should have received Life without the possibility of parole!

YES, Minimally !!!!!!