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Esteban Nunez released from jail after posting $1 million bail

December 10, 2008 |  8:20 am

Esteban Nunez, the 19-year-old son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, has been released from jail after posting $1-million bail, jail officials said Tuesday. He's been charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

At a hearing Tuesday, Superior Court Judge David Szumowski reduced bail from $2 million to $1 million for Nunez and three co-defendants. Rafael Garcia, 19, the son of an administrative law judge in Sacramento, also posted bail and was released, officials said. Ryan Kelly Jett, 22, and Leshanor Thomas, 19, remain in jail.

The judge said Nunez and the others could leave San Diego but only if they went to Sacramento to stay with their families. The four are charged in the Oct. 4 stabbing death of 22-year-old college student Luis Santos during a brawl on the street adjacent to San Diego State University. Nunez's attorney, Brad Patton, said his client will plead self-defense. Former Dist. Atty. Paul Pfingst, representing Garcia, said there is no evidence that his client was at the brawl.

"When a fight broke out, he ran away," Pfingst said.

The bail-review hearing contained conflicting images gleaned from the MySpace pages of the defendants and at least one of the five men that the defendants allegedly attacked after a night of heavy drinking.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jill DiCarlo said a MySpace page has pictures of Nunez slicing a frog and preparing to stab a kitten and a sign "Beat Your Pet." But Patton said that a MySpace page for one of the alleged victims shows him flashing gang signs and acting tough. MySpace has taken down all the pages of the defendants and victims "but not before the subpoenas" were issued, DiCarlo said.

Prosecutors allege that Nunez and the co-defendants attacked Santos and his four friends because they were enraged at being unable to crash a fraternity party.

--Tony Perry