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Three arrested in manhunt for alleged cop killer charged with accessory to murder

Posted: 6:27 PM, Jan 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-03 02:33:51-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Three arrested last week in a quiet neighborhood north of Lamont last week for harboring suspected cop killer Pablo Virgen Mendoza appeared in a Kern County court room Wednesday afternoon.

Kern County Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer's office is charging 59-year-old Bernabe Castenada, 36-year-old Erasmo Villegas and 57-year-old Maria Moreno with accessory to murder of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh.

"I will tell you it is illegal to harbor someone when they are running from the law," said Zimmer.

If convicted, they could face three years in state prison. A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday, January 15th,

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The man accused of killing Newman Police Corporal Ronil "Ron" Singh appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday.

His real name was revealed to be Pablo Virgen Mendoza in court. Authorities had earlier identified him as Gustavo Perez Arriaga.

Mendoza entered with his hands and feet shackled. No plea was entered as his attorney said he has concerns over his client's "competence". Mendoza will be evaluated and is expected to return to court in February.

No decision was made on the penalty. The court complaint states Mendoza is charged with murder. Mendoza is being held on no bail.

Mendoza's brother, 34-year-old Conrado Virgen Mendoza from Chowchilla, girlfriend, 30-year-old Ana Leyde Cervantes of Newman, another brother, 25-year-old Adrian Virgen, and a co-worker, 32-year-old Erik Razo Quiroz, also appeared in court.

All four had been arrested for aiding Mendoza in evading authorities after the murder of Singh in the early hours of December 26.

They will reappear in court on Friday.