KINGMAN — A judge has postponed the murder trial of a Bullhead City man charged in connection with a November drive-by shooting.
Brent Ryan Sekel, 23, is charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault and drive-by shooting. He is being held in custody on a $120,000 bond.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe Jr. said the Arizona Supreme Court ordered no new jury trials to take place until May 1 at the earliest. Trials already in progress have been allowed to proceed.
The judge gave defendants the option for a bench trial, which is a trial before the judge. Sipe vacated Sekel’s April 28 trial and set a status hearing for May 4.
Sekel’s attorney, Scott Ruffner, said he withdrew a speedy trial request for his client that was filed by Sekel’s previous attorney. Sekel’s case is designated as a complex case.
Sekel’s codefendant, Benjie Junior Nunez, 34, is charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault and drive-by shooting. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
Sipe rejected lowering Nunez’s $1 million bond at a hearing also held Monday. Nunez’s next hearing is set for May. Prosecutors said a plea offer expires June 1, Nunez’s attorney Ken Sondgeroth said.
Sekel was arrested Nov. 21 on suspicion of hindering prosecution in connection with the drive-by shooting of Kevin Castro Hurtado, 24. Sekel was indicted on the murder charge a week later.
On Nov. 17, Nunez arranged to meet Castro Hurtado around 2 a.m. at a parking lot of a store on Commercial Way. They reportedly had been involved in an altercation a month before.
Castro Hurtado arrived first but when Nunez had not shown up yet, Castro Hurtado, accompanied by his 20-year-old wife and two friends, left the area.
Nunez and his passenger, Jonathan Arthur Wallace, along with Sekel, who was driving a third car, followed the victims to the area of Marina Boulevard and Clearwater Drive. Nunez and Wallace reportedly were armed.
Castro Hurtado was fatally shot while his wife suffered a bullet wound to her leg. She was treated and released at a Bullhead City hospital. Nunez turned himself in to police later that morning.
Police still are searching for Wallace, 27, who also is wanted for Castro Hurtado’s murder. Anyone with information to Wallace’s whereabouts can contact the Bullhead City Police dispatch number at 928-763-1999. Mohave Silent Witness is offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to Wallace’s arrest.