Suspect in stabbings pleads innocent

A trial date has not yet been set for Fernando Saenz Jr., accused of attacking four men this month.

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WALLA WALLA -- One of two suspects in a shooting and stabbing melee earlier this month pleaded innocent Monday to charges against him.

Fernando Saenz Jr., 22, of 440 Sprague Ave., was arraigned before Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht on five counts of first-degree assault.

Saenz and Jacihel Contreras, 25, of 420 N. Sixth Ave., were arrested after violence broke out early on March 13 outside a house on Center Street where a birthday party was being held. Saenz is charged with stabbing four men and Contreras, who police say was apparently struck by mistake during the melee. Police say Contreras shot two of the victims.

Contreras was also scheduled to be in court Monday, but his arraignment was delayed until Wednesday morning due to a change in defense attorneys. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault in addition to one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm because he is a convicted felon.

Police said Saenz and Contreras, who are alleged gang members, 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 the birthday party earlier.

Officials said Saenz stabbed Juan P. Robles, 22; Louis Camargo, 42; and brothers Alan Roblero, 22, and Osman Roblero, 21. The Robleros also were shot, allegedly by Contreras armed with a semiautomatic handgun.

Osman Roblero was the most seriously injured with two gunshot wounds to the chest and stab wounds.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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