Extradited murder suspect receives trial date

Josue Salvadore Antonez.
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A man accused of stabbing another man to death near Pyramid Lake in 2017 received a date to begin his federal court trial after having been extradited from Nebraska last year.  

Salvador Rodriguez, 30, has been charged with the second-degree murder of Josue Salvador Pedraza Antunez, 29, of Newhall, on July 8, 2017, in a remote part of the Angeles National Forest.  

Yenner Augusto Mendez has also been charged with accessory after the fact and is alleged to have assisted Rodriguez in avoiding law enforcement after the killing, prosecutors said.  

“Mr. Rodriguez made a court appearance yesterday,” Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Wednesday. “U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson in Los Angeles scheduled an Oct. 19 trial date for Rodriguez and his co-defendant, Yenner Augusto Mendez.” 

Rodriguez is in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. Mendez is free on $60,000 bond. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. 

Rodriguez was arrested recently in Nebraska, according to Detective John O’Brien of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Unit. Rodriguez was believed to be working in the area where he was arrested, after being paroled for a plea deal regarding a prior assault, O’Brien confirmed.  

O’Brien said the delay in bringing forth the case against Rodriguez had to do with custody delays and then issues with COVID-19 since earlier this year, which has made especially strict protocols necessary regarding custodial transfers, according to officials.  

Although the criminal complaint remains sealed under order of the court, investigators have said in the past that they believe Rodriguez stabbed Antunez to death after the two had known each other through work. The body of the victim was found by a group of hikers partially submerged in the creek and concealed by dense vegetation near Frenchman’s Flat Campground. 

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