Three bouncers accused in the death of a man following a 2012 fight at a South Lake Tahoe bar appeared in a court together for the first time Friday morning.
After speaking in a Placerville jury room with attorney David Cramer and a translator, Rodolfo Hernandez appeared before El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner to schedule new hearing dates. He was joined by codefendants Ruben Lizarraga and Sean Canilao, represented by Adam and Dain Weiner, respectively.
The men are charged in the death of Derek “Zippy” Penaranda, who died Oct. 17, 2012. The three accused were bouncers at Mo’s Place, where Penaranda was celebrating his 30th birthday. Penaranda was allegedly asked to leave due to unruly conduct and punched bar owner Manish “Mo” Patel, knocking him unconscious. The three bouncers reacted and detained him, knocking him unconscious, according to police. Penaranda fell into a coma and never recovered following the incident.
Wagoner noted there had been a motion to transfer the case to South Lake Tahoe, but due to the courtrooms filled with trials, including the Joseph Nissensohn murder trial, there would be no room for the case. He said if he sent it up there it would be sent back.
Despite this, Cramer asked for the transfer, as “most if not all of the witnesses” were from South Lake Tahoe. He said he did understand the position the court was in.
The matter of bail for Lizarraga and Canilao was then taken up, with deputy district attorney Joe Alexander noting the original summons for the men were sent to the wrong addresses. When the pair found out there were complaints against them and they were required to appear, they contacted the DA’s office. Alexander said they were “of no concern” to him as flight risks, though he would like some bail as incarceration would be “increasing likely” as hearings went on. He said he would not entirely mind them being released on their own recognizance, as they had shown due diligence and had not failed to appear since becoming aware of the allegations.
The Weiner brothers asked for their clients to be release on their own recognizance. Adam Weiner noted Lizarraga had been turned away from the jail when he tried to do a book and release, and had done all that was requested of him.
While it was “unusual” to release defendants on their own recognizance in this type of case, Wagoner said, he noted they had indeed shown due diligence and were under his personal orders to reappear in court. He ordered Lizzaraga to uphold his May 23 book and release appointment at the jail, but said the men were otherwise free to go.
Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of Lizarraga and Canilao, and Grand Jury findings were ordered unsealed before the hearing finished.
All three defendants are scheduled to appear in court again June 28 in Placerville.