A second teenage suspect in the July 20 slaying of a Hoopa man was arraigned today on charges of murder and conspiracy.
Judge Larry Killoran appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent 19-year-old Daniel Armendariz, a Klamath resident who was arrested early Wednesday morning. Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo entered not guilty pleas on Armendariz’s behalf.
At the request of Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal, Killoran set bail at $1 million. The preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1.
Armendariz joins his friend Bronson Moon Lewis Jr., who has been in jail since last month on murder and weapons charges. Lewis, 18, has already had a preliminary hearing and been ordered to stand trial for the grisly death of 42-year-old Julius “Jules” Tripp, who was stabbed and then shot along state Highway 96.
Witnesses in Lewis’s preliminary hearing implicated Armendariz in the killing, saying it was Armendariz who got a large knife and handed it to Lewis, who allegedly used it to attack Tripp and cut off his hand. Armendariz was by Lewis’s side at all times, witnesses said.
Tripp was left lying down a bank while five teens, including Armendariz and Lewis, drove to Hoopa. There they obtained an AR-15 rifle, which was used to shoot the wounded man, witnesses testified.
Witnesses also alleged that both Lewis and Armendariz said Tripp had to be “finished off” after the knife attack.
The five teens were in Lewis’s Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, heading to Weitchpec, when driver Daniel Mabry reportedly decided to “bump” a pickup truck and camper parked in a turnout on Highway 96. Tripp was asleep inside. When he got out and threw a tire rim at Lewis’s truck, shattering the windshield, he was pursued and stabbed.
Today Armendariz, wearing a mask, appeared on video from the jail. Asked if he could afford to hire an attorney, Armendariz indicated his family may be trying to do that. Killoran said he would appoint the public defender “for now.”
After Tripp was killed, his old Chevy truck and camper were pushed over a bank. His truck was found July 24. Tripp’s remains weren’t recovered until Aug. 18, after Mabry and other witnesses talked to law enforcement and provided a location.
Armendariz was very polite today, answering all the judge’s questions with “Yes, Your Honor.”
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