General Crime

* Santa Rosa 18-Year-Old Gibb Olivarez Held To Answer For Petaluma Murder Of Nathaniel Reifers

Fugitive Watch Logo 77x77px After an eight-day preliminary hearing, Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Gnoss late this afternoon held 18-year-old Gibb Olivarez to answer to a murder and assault in Petaluma more than two years ago.Olivarez, of Santa Rosa, faces a trial for the stabbing murder of Nathaniel Reifers, 31, of Santa Rosa, and the stabbing assault of Sal Cucci Jr. 25, of Petaluma in the downtown area of Petaluma on Dec. 17, 2006.Olivarez will re-enter pleas on May 20 when a trial date also might be set.Testimony during the hearing indicated Olivarez stabbed Cucci outside the back of Gale’s Central Club during an argument about Cucci buying alcohol for Olivarez who was 16 at the time. Cucci initially agreed to buy Olivarez alcohol but Olivarez made disrespectful comments and Cucci changed his mind. Olivarez then allegedly became angry and aggressive and he stabbed Cucci in the left leg and buttocks, according to testimony. Cucci asked for help and a group of men who were in front of the club chased Olivarez down Water Street. Reifers was the first one to catch up to Olivarez and during a brief confrontation, Olivarez allegedly stabbed Reifers with a knife in the left chest, according to testimony. Deputy District Attorney Ann Masterson said the knife punctured Reifers’ heart and he died at the scene. “There was no evidence of justification for this killing,” Masterson told the judge.Defense attorney Richard Ingram challenged what he said was the inconsistent and conflicting testimony of the men who were present early that morning. He said some of the witnesses lied to police, testified under immunity from prosecution, tried to control the story happened and told some other prospective witnesses their testimony was not needed.”The sum of the parts are less than the whole,” Ingram said.Other than the fact Reifers was fatally stabbed in the chest, “there is no competent evidence or consistent story of who, what, when, where or why,” Ingram said. “No one individual actually saw Mr. Olivarez stab Reifers,” Ingram said. He said at most, the case was manslaughter not murder.Gnoss acknowledged the men who were at the crime scene that night had been drinking and taking drugs, but he said there is evidence to hold Olivarez to answer to the assault on Cucci and the murder of Reifers.Olivarez is being held in the Sonoma County jail under no bail. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. fwsearch1

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