Prosecutors have dismissed a charge of first-degree murder against a man who had been in custody since a mid-July shooting in McFarland.
Samuel Alaniz was released from jail Wednesday after the case against him was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Deputy Public Defender Richard Ramos said Alaniz and his family were "ecstatic" by the decision, and the family cried in the hallway afterward.
"The District Attorney's office did the right thing," said Ramos, who called the evidence against his client "sparse."
Alaniz, 18 at the time of his arrest, was accused of killing 25-year-old William Carrillo Jr., who died 10 days after being shot on July 14. Carrillo was shot around 11:30 p.m. at East Sherwood Avenue and San Pedro Street in McFarland, according to the coroner's office.
Ramos said Carrillo gave what's known as a "dying declaration," in which he reportedly named Alaniz as his killer, but that statement was not recorded.
The District Attorney's office has requested further investigation from law enforcement in a case involving two Los Angeles men who were traveling with a corpse in their vehicle.
As of Friday afternoon, neither Manpreet Sidhu, 39, nor Ben Barness, 24, had been charged since their arrest Tuesday. Barness is still in custody, according to the Sheriff's Office website, but no one matching Sidhu's name was listed as being in jail.
The D.A.'s office confirmed Friday they sent the case back to the Kern County Sheriff's Office, but declined to go into specifics.
Sidhu and Barness were arrested on suspicion of murder after a California Highway Patrol officer pulled over a vehicle for speeding on Highway 65 near James Road, sheriff's officials said. The officer requested backup after discovering the vehicle had been reported stolen and, after detaining the two, officers found a dead man in a passenger seat.
The man, whose name has not been released, appeared to have suffered an injury, according to sheriff's officials.