A 21-year-old man who allegedly shot two Bakersfield residents — one of whom died — during a botched marijuana sale in a City Heights residential area was ordered Thursday to stand trial on murder and attempted murder charges.
Matatoa Samoata is accused of shooting Andrew Briseno in the back of the head on Nov. 6, 2020, while the other victim was shot in the head, leg and foot, according to preliminary hearing testimony.
Briseno died of his injuries three days later. A GoFundMe drive raised nearly $26,000.
According to testimony, the two victims, both 21 , traveled from Central California in order to meet Samoata and sell him marijuana.
When Samoata got into their car near the intersection of Rowan Street and Colonial Avenue, he allegedly handed the victims counterfeit money, then tried to rob them before shooting them about 9:30 p.m. He then fled to a nearby home, where he surrendered to police about 1:30 in the morning following a standoff.
Samoata was identified by the surviving victim and witnesses who saw him fleeing the shooting scene, according to testimony, and casings found inside the car were consistent with a gun found inside the house where the defendant barricaded himself.
Defense attorney Oscar Valencia inquired about a handgun found inside the car, which was registered to Briseno, though San Diego police Detective Steven Choy testified there was no evidence indicating that it had been recently fired.
Samoata remains in custody on $1 million bail.