The man police believed pulled the trigger and killed three teenagers outside a Visalia high school has pleaded not guilty.
Abraham Molina, 20, appeared in Tulare County Superior Court for an arraignment on Tuesday.
Law enforcement believe Molina and two other suspects — 20-year-old Mark Aceves and 19-year-old Cesar Lopez — are responsible for the 2020 killings of three Visalia men.
Previous coverage: 3 arrests made in Visalia triple homicide
Police found Jose Hernandez-Peña, 19; Isaiah Rule, 18; and Blake Medeiros, 19, dead with gunshot wounds in the Golden West High School parking lot on May 5, 2020. The motive and reason why the gathering took place in the dark school parking lot hasn't been released.
Molina is believed to have shot and killed the victims and was charged with the special allegation that he intentionally fired a gun, which caused the deaths.
The three suspects are known Sureño gang members, police said during a press conference announcing the arrests last week. If convicted, the men could face the death penalty or life without parole.
Death sentences aren't currently being performed in California.
The investigation led Visalia police and partnering agencies on an international hunt that uncovered not only the teen's suspected murderers but an international drug and weapons trafficking operation.
Detectives learned that local Sureño gang members and associates were importing guns from Texas, and were paying for the weapons with methamphetamine and cocaine from drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.
Operation Trailblazer concluded with the arrests of 27 Sureño gang members and the seizure of 56 firearms.
A $50,000 reward from the governor's office is still available to anyone who can provide investigators and prosecutors with direct knowledge of the triple homicide. Anyone with information is urged to call the Visalia Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit at 713-4234.
Aveces and Lopez are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Joshua Yeager is a reporter with the Visalia Times-Delta and a Report for America corps member. He covers Tulare County news deserts with a focus on the environment and local governments.
This article originally appeared on Visalia Times-Delta: Suspect in Golden West High School triple-slaying pleads not guilty