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Arraignment held, cour date set in murder of La Jolla surfer

Four defendants accused of murdering pro surfer Emery Kauanui, Jr., 24, who died of brain injuries on Memorial Day, four days after being beaten in front of his mother’s home following a fight in a La Jolla bar, were arraigned in San Diego Superior Court Tuesday, Sept. 4.

A fifth defendant, identified as Henri Quinn-William Hendricks, 21, was also charged in the case, according to Paul Levikow, director of communications for the county District Attorney. Hendricks pleaded not guilty in a court hearing held on Sept. 11.

“A new court date was set for Friday, Sept. 14, a bail review hearing,” said Levikow, adding, “additional charges were filed today. They (defendants) pled not guilty.”

A Superior Court preliminary hearing date was also set for Tuesday, Oct. 9 in the case, but Levikow noted that could be subject to change. “It probably will be moved depending on what happens on the 14th,” he said.

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Accused in the case are Seth Cravens, 21; Eric House, 20; Orlando Osuna, 22; and Matthew Yanke, 20. All four are graduates of La Jolla High School and have been charged with murder in the first homicide in the coastal community since 2002. If convicted of the early-morning slaying, the defendants could be sent to prison for 25 years to life.

Additional charges were filed against the various defendants Tuesday, Sept. 4, bringing the total number filed against them to 16. Charges leveled against the various defendants include alleged street gang activity, making a criminal threat, dissuading a witness from testifying, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery, as well as murder. The degree of the murder charge will not be determined until a later court date.

Following Kauanui’s beating and subsequent death from bleeding caused from head trauma, police were able to track down his assailants via tips and searches of Internet blogs and MySpace pages. Detectives learned of the four defendants and an alleged street gang they belonged to in Bird Rock known as the Bird Rock Bandits.

The Sept. 14 bail review hearing is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. in San Diego Superior Court, 220 W. Broadway in downtown San Diego, on the 3rd floor in the north end of the building, Dept. 37.

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