A man charged with murdering a soldier in Lompoc last month was back in a Lompoc courtroom Thursday morning where he pleaded not guilty.
Francisco GutierrezOrtega, 24, is charged in the Sept. 8 shooting death of Marlon Brumfield, 22.
Prosecutors allege the murder near the intersection of Oceano Avenue and A Street was committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal street gang.
Brumfield, an Army Specialist (E-4), was home visiting his family while on a two-week leave from Germany, where he was stationed, at the time of the killing.
Police say they have found no evidence to believe the suspects and victim had any prior contact before the shooting.
Brumfield’s family was in court Thursday for GutierrezOrtega’s continued arraignment.
He has been in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail since Sept. 19 with bail set at $2 million and is due back in court Nov. 14.
A second suspect - identified as Walter Alexander Morales Jr., 25 – is still on the run.
Brumfield’s death marked the sixth homicide in the city this year.