Former UC Davis student pleads not guilty in series of stabbings near campus

ByEmma Tucker and Taylor Romine, CNN
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Former UC Davis student pleads not guilty in series of stabbings
Former UC Davis student 21-year-old Carlos Dominguez appeared in court Friday and pled not guilty to three stabbings near campus.

DAVIS, Calif. -- A former student at the U.C. Davis, pleaded not guilty as he was arraigned in court Friday in connection with three stabbings near the campus within the span of five days, leaving two people dead and the community in fear.

Carlos Dominguez, 21, entered not guilty pleas on two murder charges and one attempted murder charge through his attorney, Dan Hutchinson. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days.

Superior Court Judge Daniel Wolk denied Dominguez bail after a Yolo County prosecutor argued the alleged crimes were of "such an egregious and dangerous nature to the community" that he needed to stay in custody. Bail was previously set at $4 million, Judge Wolk said.

The latest attack in Davis happened Monday night near the campus and left a woman, identified by the city as Kimberlee Guillory, in critical condition. Stabbings at two parks near the campus claimed the lives of UC Davis senior Karim Abou Najm on Saturday and 50-year-old David Breaux on April 27.

Guillory was "severely wounded" in Monday's attack and underwent surgery at UC Davis Medical Center, where she is recovering, Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said.

The murder charges include a special allegation he used a deadly weapon, and the attempted murder charge includes an enhancement for allegedly causing great bodily injury. Dominguez could face a sentence of life without parole or the death penalty if convicted, due to a separate enhancement alleging he committed multiple murders, the Yolo County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

RELATED: Old friends shocked after arrest of 21-year-old ex-UC Davis student in connection to stabbings

Dominguez was a third-year student at the university until April 25, when he was "separated for academic reasons," UC Davis said in a news release.

During his Friday court hearing, Dominguez was wearing a green shirt vest and no mask while standing behind a clear barrier. He held his head straight forward during the hearing but kept his eyes down while strands of his hair covered his face.

At the start of the hearing, Judge Wolk said he lives about a half mile from where one of the stabbings took place Saturday. Roughly 40 minutes before the fatal stabbing, the judge said, his wife was out walking their dogs a quarter mile from the crime scene and saw someone who may or may not have matched the description of the suspect. The judge's wife reported it to police, he said.

Dominguez is scheduled to appear in court next on May 22. CNN has reached out to Hutchinson for comment.

The days leading up to Dominguez's arrest saw the college community on edge, with officials ramping up security measures and urging students to be ultra-vigilant.

He was initially taken into custody Wednesday on a weapons violation for possessing a large knife and was placed under arrest Thursday in connection with the stabbings, Pytel said Thursday. Pytel described the weapon as a hunting-style knife and said police are evaluating whether it was the same knife used in the attacks.

"At this point, we believe that all three (stabbings) are connected and we have evidence and information that they are and have one person responsible," the chief said during a news conference Thursday.

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