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Criminal homicide case to proceed

January 28, 2002

Criminal homicide case to proceed



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


Based on a preliminary hearing Friday, District Justice Larry Pentz ruled that there was enough evidence for the criminal homicide case against Antonio Barcenas to be heard in the Court of Common Pleas.

Barcenas, 20, of 20 W. Washington St., is charged with the stabbing death of J. Javier Brena-Lugo, 30, during a New Year's Day incident at the home of the victim's brother, Joaquin Brena-Lugo at 38 W. Queen St.

Joaquin Brena-Lugo was a key witness for the prosecution in the hearing before District Justice Larry Pentz.

An interpreter sat beside Barcenas at the defense table and translated the proceedings.

Another interpreter had to translate for Raoul Gonzales, another prosecution witness. Barcenas was Gonzales' roommate.

Details of what led to the stabbing were not revealed during the hearing.

According to Joaquin Brena-Lugo, his family and friends were having a New Year's holiday gathering at his house. He told Assistant District Attorney Nancy Meyers that he had known the defendant for about six years. The two worked together at Perini Construction, Inc., he said.

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He said he invited Barcenas to his home for the festivities, which went into the morning of New Year's Day.

Brena-Lugo said he went to bed around 5:30 a.m. and woke up after 11 a.m. when he heard noises in the living room. He said Barcenas and a man identified in testimony only as Roberto were in a scuffle. Roberto was telling Barcenas to "calm down," according to testimony.

Barcenas left Brena's house and went home, according to testimony.

He returned a short while later and rang the front doorbell, according to testimony. Joaquin Brena-Lugo said Barcenas had his arms folded under his coat.

Brena-Lugo said Barcenas went into the room where his brother was. He testified that he saw Barcenas pull out an eight-inch knife and stab his brother once in the stomach area. Brena-Lugo described it as a kitchen knife.

Brena-Lugo said his brother pulled the knife out of his stomach then collapsed onto the floor.

Barcenas fled the house.

According to Det. Will Frisby, the investigating officer for borough police, Barcenas was apprehended without incident a short while later at his residence.

Brena-Lugo, Gonzales and Frisby were the state's only witnesses.

When Myers rested her case, Public Defender Robert J. Trambley told Pentz that he would stipulate that there was probable cause, in effect offering no defense argument.

Pentz set Barcenas' arraignment for March 3.

Trambley said he would schedule a bail hearing for Barcenas, who is being held in the Franklin County Prison.

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