Man Convicted of Fatal Stabbing Outside of Anaheim Restaurant

Man Convicted of Fatal Stabbing Outside of Anaheim Restaurant

The Orange County Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, Calif., on Sept. 18, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

4/10/2024

Updated: 4/10/2024

0

SANTA ANA, Calif.—A 28-year-old man was convicted April 9 of fatally stabbing a man in an Anaheim restaurant parking lot.
Armando Andrei Urbina-Martinez was convicted of second-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. Jurors began deliberating at the end of the day March 28 and reached a verdict after six days Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Urbina-Martinez, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 21, killed 22-year-old Cody Stewart on Oct. 30, 2020, outside the Las Brisas Mexican restaurant at 1734 S. Euclid St.
Mr. Stewart and two other friends—Daniel Canales and Zachary Chavez—went to Harvey’s Sports Bar at 1728 S. Euclid, but the bar was closed so they went to the restaurant in the same shopping center, prosecutors said.
When the restaurant closed for the night, the three got into a dispute with another group in the parking lot at about 2:15 a.m., Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Moore said.
Either Mr. Stewart or someone in his group made an insulting remark derogatory to homosexuals toward someone else in the parking lot, Mr. Moore said.
“These two groups start arguing about the comment,” Mr. Moore said. “It was a lot of drunk trash talk, posturing and insults.”
But eventually the dispute “calmed down,” Mr. Moore said.
That’s when the defendant entered the picture and got into a dispute with Mr. Stewart and his friends, according to Mr. Moore.
Mr. Urbina-Martinez’s attorney, Cameron Talley, claimed that Mr. Stewart, who was about a foot taller and heavier, landed the first blow, knocking the defendant down.
Mr. Talley pointed to Mr. Canales’ testimony that Mr. Stewart was “going to [beat Mr. Urbina-Martinez] up.” The defense attorney said his client “acted in complete self-defense.”
“Clearly, there’s not even an intent to kill” when the defendant stabbed Mr. Stewart, Mr. Talley argued.
After he was arrested the next day, Mr. Urbina-Martinez “didn’t even know anybody had died,” Mr. Talley said.
When Mr. Urbina-Martinez got knocked down and starts getting pummeled, “What’s he supposed to do?” Mr. Talley asked.
“Any way you slice it, it’s self-defense,” Mr. Talley argued.
Mr. Stewart and his friends also chased the defendant around, Mr. Talley argued. Mr. Urbina-Martinez was knocked down three times, Mr. Talley said.
The defense attorney also said Mr. Urbina-Martinez made “random stabbing” motions to “get [Mr. Stewart] off of him.”
Mr. Urbina-Martinez “wasn’t trying to kill anybody,” Mr. Talley said.
“He doesn’t even have to fear for his life, he can fear great bodily injury” to legally defend himself, Mr. Talley argued.
Mr. Stewart’s blood-alcohol content was 0.11, above the legal limit for driving at 0.08, Mr. Talley said.
The defense attorney acknowledged that Mr. Urbina-Martinez had marijuana and methamphetamine in his system the next day, but there’s no evidence he had it in his system the night of the stabbing.
Mr. Moore said Mr. Talley’s attempts to label the victim as a “thug” or “punk” who was drunk was an attempt to belittle his humanity, to “make it easier” to accept a self-defense argument.
Mr. Moore downplayed Mr. Canales’ testimony, which he said was mistaken at times. He pointed to the video of the confrontation as more accurate direct evidence.
“Just because he testified inconsistent with the video doesn’t mean it didn’t happen that way,” Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Moore argued that the blood on the victim’s back shows he was stabbed standing up, not while on the ground with the defendant in a struggle, as Mr. Talley had argued. Mr. Moore noted that Mr. Stewart was still upright and able to get into his friends’ car after he was stabbed as more evidence he could have been stabbed while standing up.
“Though he’s stabbed in the chest, he’s a young man, 22, drinking and running on a lot of adrenalin,” Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Stewart’s friends got him in the car to take him to a hospital and called 911 along the way. Police finished taking the victim to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Mr. Moore pointed to Mr. Urbina-Martinez fleeing the scene of the stabbing as evidence of “consciousness of guilt.”
Also, “the defendant destroys evidence,” Mr. Moore said.
“He wipes Cody Stewart’s blood off the knife,” and he put his bloody clothes in a plastic bag, Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Urbina-Martinez “was having a bad night” before the stabbing, Mr. Moore said. He had a dispute with his girlfriend, he was drinking and got a knife after getting beat up in an earlier fight, Mr. Moore said.
“He wasn’t going to let it happen again,” Mr. Moore said of getting beat up again.
Mr. Urbina-Martinez told police after his arrest that he was in fear for his life and “blacked out,” so he couldn’t remember the details of the stabbing, Mr. Moore said.
“If you’re in a fight for your life, you’re going to remember it,” Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Urbina-Martinez argued with Mr. Stewart and his friends for a few minutes before it escalated into a fight, Mr. Moore said.
“He went over there looking for trouble,” Mr. Moore said. “The defendant brought a knife to a verbal argument, not a fist fight. ... An argument that had already settled down.”
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