Aaron Thompson/Special to the Sun / File photo
Monday, March 9, 2009 | 6:06 p.m.
A man charged with murder, attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon stemming from a fight in a restaurant parking lot pleaded not guilty today in District Court.
Carlos Eriberto Orellana, 23, is accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Brandon Gahagan during a fight outside the Olive Mediterranean Grill and Hookah Bar, 3850 E. Sunset Road, near Sunset and Annie Oakley Drive, about midnight on Jan. 31.
Orellana's jury trial is scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 13 before District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. He is being held without bail at the North Las Vegas Detention Center.
Ernesto Martinez, 20, was also shot in the left arm during the fight and was treated at University Medical Center. A third man, 26-year-old Michael Opiola, also was injured in the fight and was taken to Sunrise Hospital.
Orellana's attorney, Joseph Abood, said during a preliminary hearing on Feb. 23 that his client acted to protect Opiola, his friend.
Timothy Avril, a doorman at the restaurant, testified during the hearing that he saw Opiola, Gahagan and two other individuals fighting in the parking lot.
Avril testified that he saw Orellana run into the parking lot and fire shots into the air, causing most of the group to scatter.
But Gahagan remained on top of Opiola and was punching him, Avril said. Orellana then shot Gahagan in the chest, Avril testified.
Opiola testified during the preliminary hearing that he, Orellana and another man went to the Olive Mediterranean Grill and Hookah Bar on Jan. 31. Opiola was seeking employment as a bouncer at the Olive Mediterranean Grill and said he was hired that night. As he was getting ready to leave, Opiola said, he saw a fight break out inside the restaurant.
Opiola grabbed Gahagan, he said, and pulled him outside, at which point Opiola was attacked by two other individuals. He said he heard four to five gunshots during the fight but couldn't say who fired the shots because he was disoriented.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].