Judge delays hearing for Bird Rock Bandits
by NEAL PUTNAM
Feb 13, 2008 | 1124 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of the five murder suspects in the death of La Jolla surfer Emery Kauanui Jr. recently got a new attorney, and that resulted in another long delay in their preliminary hearing, which is now set for May 5. That is three weeks short of the one-year anniversary of Kauanui's death.

The preliminary hearing had been set for March 11 before San Diego Superior Court Judge John Einhorn, but attorney Mary Ellen Attridge, who now represents Seth Cravens, sought the delay so she could have more time to prepare. Cravens is the only one out of the five men charged who remains behind bars. The other four suspects are free on high bail and property bonds.

Attridge asked Einhorn last month to lower Cravens' $1.5 million bail figure, but he denied the request, saying the bail had been reviewed several times already. After Cravens' family reportedly spent $175,000 for a retained law firm that no longer represents the suspect, Attridge, a public defender with experience defending murder suspects, now represents the 22-year-old man.

District Attorney spokesman Paul Levikow said the preliminary hearing is likely to last several weeks, considering there are five defense attorneys and a number of witnesses who might be questioned by each attorney.

Witnesses who may be called include anyone who saw the argument between Kauanui, 24, and Eric House, 20, at the La Jolla Brew House on May 25, when Kauanui reportedly poured a beer on House. After leaving the bar and going home, Kauanui met the five men outside his house and a brawl erupted.

Neighbors are expected to be called to testify about the fight, which resulted in Kauanui being knocked to the ground, and his head hitting the pavement. He suffered a skull fracture and was taken to a hospital, but he died four days later.

Also charged with Cravens and House are Matthew Yanke, 21, Orlando Osuna, 22, and Henri Quinn-William Hendricks, 22. Cravens and a few others are also charged with committing assaults on other people at parties in 2005 and 2006. The group was known unofficially as the Bird Rock Bandits.

As a condition of bond, the four who are free are barred from frequenting any beach. Hendricks and Osuna are free on $500,000 bond, while House and Yanke are free on $1.5 million and $1 million bond respectively. Cravens remains in the George F. Bailey Detention Facility.
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