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July 8, 2020

Alleged Sheriff’s deputy killer makes first appearance in federal court

SAN FRANCISCO—The Ben Lomond man accused of killing two law enforcement officials—and trying to kill two others—in Santa Cruz County and the City of Oakland, made his first appearance in federal court Tuesday.

Steven Carrillo did not enter a plea during the short hearing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. He made his appearance via video conference from Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, where he is being held without bail. 

Carrillo was transferred to the jail last week to face charges that, on May 29, he gunned down Pat Underwood, a federal officer providing security for the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building. He also wounded a second officer in that shooting.

His attorney, Jeffrey Stotter, said that Carrillo has been placed on suicide watch. He is charged with murder and attempted murder of United States government employees, and faces either life in prison or the death penalty if convicted, said U.S. District Judge Lauren Beeler.

It is unclear who will represent Carrillo in the federal case. Stotter asked that a federal defense attorney be appointed in the case, but Assistant United States Attorney Katherine M. Lloyd-Lovett told Beeler the office has a conflict of interest in the case. 

He returns to federal court on June 29, when an attorney will be appointed. He could also enter a plea at that time.

Carrillo is also facing charges that he killed Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, and injured three other law enforcement officials on June 6, in addition to several other felony charges that include carjacking and using a bomb.

Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Tara George said that Carrillo will simultaneously be tried for those crimes here. He returns to Santa Cruz County Superior Court on July 17, when he will likely enter a plea.

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