Seven deny murder charges in death of Montclair man

By Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/23/2011 03:16:18 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Seven people have pleaded not guilty to murder and other criminal charges in connection with the alleged kidnapping and killing of a 22-year-old Montclair man.

Erick Estuardo Cate’s body was found Tuesday in the area of the 15 and 8 freeways in San Diego. He was reported missing Oct. 12 from the 2400 block of West Arrow Route in Upland.

Prosecutors filed three felonies – murder, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon – against each of the seven people suspected of participating in Cate’s alleged killing.

The defendants are Isabel Rosas, 46, of Pomona; Regelio Varela, 22, of San Bernardino; Highland residents Oscar Zuniga, 19, Yussef Tafich, 23, Jose Pizana, 23, and David Zuniga 17; and Daniel Garcia, 18.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to criminal charges last week in West Valley Superior Court. Some were arraigned Thursday and others were arraigned Friday, said Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ploghaus.

Each remained jailed Friday in lieu of $1 million bail. The defendants are next due in court Monday, Ploghaus said.

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