An attorney for the suspect in the fatal stabbing of a man in a Sonoma State University dorm said Thursday neither drugs nor other “unlawful behavior” was a factor in the deadly confrontation.
Kathleen Pozzi, the Sonoma County Public Defender whose office is representing suspect Tyler Joseph Bratton, 20, of Santa Rosa, refused to discuss any motive, citing attorney-client privilege.
“He told me what happened, and I can’t disclose,” Pozzi said. “It wasn’t drugs or any unlawful behavior regarding our client.”
Steven John Garcia, 26, of Santa Rosa was found dead in a bedroom Sunday evening in an apartment-style dorm in the Sauvignon Village student housing complex. Bratton and Garcia were not university students and were visiting a female freshman who lived in the student housing.
Results from Garcia’s Tuesday autopsy are weeks away, said Sgt. Spencer Crum, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Garcia went to Petaluma High School and was a member of the North Bay Laborers Local 324 union, according to his Facebook profile. The union would not confirm his membership status.
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a voluntary manslaughter charge against Bratton on his 20th birthday. He had originally been booked in Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of murder. He was still in jail Thursday, with bail set at $135,000.
Bratton had attended Amarosa Academy, an alternative high school, according to his Facebook profile.
The Sonoma County Office of Education, which runs the school, would not confirm any information regarding his enrollment, citing federal privacy law.
Pozzi pointed to the voluntary manslaughter charge and said Bratton had been provoked, but declined to describe how.
“You don’t get a voluntary manslaughter charge just because you’re pissed, the provocation has to be reasonable,” she said.
Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons, who is overseeing the criminal investigation into the death, said it was too early for him to rule out drugs and other illegal activity.
Bratton is due in court on May 31 when he is scheduled to enter a plea.
You can reach Staff Writer Nick Rahaim at 707-521-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @nrahaim.