Alleged gang member pleads not guilty to cartel-style killing of 6 in Central California

A man with alleged ties to a California prison gang pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing six people, including a teenage mother and her baby, last month at a central California home connected to a rival gang, prosecutors said.

Rural Goshen, a community of about 3,000 people in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, was stunned by the Jan. 16 massacre.

Angel Uriarte, 35, pleaded not guilty Tuesday and remains held without bail. He had been hospitalized in custody after he was wounded in a shootout with federal agents more than two weeks after the killings.

Uriarte’s co-defendant, 25-year-old Noah David Beard, pleaded not guilty earlier this month. Authorities say he shot Alissa Parraz, 16, and her 10-month-old baby, Nycholas Parraz, in the back of their heads.

Both are charged with six counts of murder and other crimes, and they each face a potential sentence of the death penalty or life in prison without parole. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office hasn’t decided yet whether to seek capital punishment.

"The Tulare County sheriff and prosecutor have already poisoned the jury pool by announcing to anyone who will listen that this is a death penalty case, despite the fact that the governor announced some time ago that he was pausing executions in California," Uriarte’s attorney, Anthony Dell’Anno Sr., said in an email. "Sounds political to me."

Due to various legal challenges and court decisions, California has not executed anyone in years. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions for as long as he is in office.

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux has publicly called for Newsom to reinstate the death penalty for both men and other cases where children are killed.

Beard’s lawyer declined to comment Tuesday.

The defendants are scheduled to return to court March 15.

Investigators believe the two suspects have ties to the Nuestra Familia prison gang. Uriarte was convicted in 2015 of assault with a firearm in association with a street gang, and Beard had juvenile convictions, prosecutors said in a court filing.

Authorities have not disclosed the reason for the shooting, but the Los Angeles Times reported that it occurred after years of bad blood between two warring families in Goshen.

The other victims were identified as: Rosa Parraz, 72; Eladio Parraz, Jr., 52; Jennifer Analla, 49; and Marcos Parraz, 19.