Man accused of killing childhood pal appears in court


A man accused of shooting his childhood friend and then dumping his body down a ravine near Sand Canyon Road appeared briefly in court Tuesday as his case heads slowly towards a trial.

David Aldana, now 22, was charged by prosecutors early last year with the “willful, deliberate and premeditated murder” of his friend Maximiliano Bernal, according to the felony complaint filed against him.

Aldana appeared Tuesday in San Fernando Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing where he was ordered to return next month for another pre-trial hearing.

He is now scheduled to appear back in court June 15, Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal Tuesday.

Just over a year ago, Aldana led homicide detectives to the area of mile marker 7.89 on Sand Canyon Road where they found “the victim’s body and discovered he had been shot at least one time in the upper torso,” Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau told The Signal at that time.

Some time between Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, Bernal, 21, was shot and killed, his body dumped in a ravine. His body was discovered near a turnout.

The felony complaint filed against Aldana includes the allegation that the murder was committed with a handgun.

Aldana turned himself in at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in San Ysidro on Feb. 24, 2016, prosecutors said at the time.

If convicted as charged, Aldana faces 50 years to life in state prison.

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