Trial delayed for man accused in shootings

Jacihel Contreras faces a trial in late October in connection with an attack in March.

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WALLA WALLA -- A trial for a man accused in a bloody, gang-related attack outside a residence on Center Street in March has been postponed a third time in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

The proceedings for alleged gang member Jacihel Contreras, 26, most recently had been scheduled to begin next Tuesday. But the start date is being delayed until Oct. 26, reportedly to give the defense more time to prepare.

The trial initially was set to begin May 11.

Five men were stabbed, shot or both during the melee about 2:15 a.m. March 13 outside 1306 Center.

Contreras, who police say shot two victims, is accused of two counts of first-degree assault. He also faces a charge of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm because he is a convicted felon. If convicted of the current charges, he could be sentenced to serve decades in prison.

Police said the violence broke out at a birthday party for a daughter of the woman renting the home. Contreras and co-defendant Fernando Saenz Jr. were attending the party and apparently confronted a group of men -- with no known gang affiliation -- when they dropped by to retrieve a coat for a woman who had left earlier, according to police.

Contreras allegedly was armed with a semiautomatic handgun and shot Alan Roblero, 22, and his brother, Osman Roblero, 21, police said.

Saenz, 23, pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to two counts of first-degree assault for stabbing Juan P. Robles, 22, and Luis Camargo, 42. Contreras also was stabbed, but officials believe that was by mistake.

Saenz, who faces a standard-range penalty of 21 1/2 to 28 1/2 years in prison, is awaiting sentencing.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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