SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A man who allegedly stabbed San Francisco 49er player Aldon Smith in San Jose in 2012 pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court to felony assault with a deadly weapon, firearms and gang-related charges.
Steven Raymond Barba, who appeared in court in jail clothes, a long ponytail and tattoos on his neck and arms, entered his plea while sitting in a jury box with other defendants in the courtroom in San Jose before Judge Hector Ramon.
The district attorney’s office has charged Barba, 27, with stabbing Smith in the leg and an enhancement for being part of a street gang, plus two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to court records.
Ramon set a preliminary hearing on the felony charges, and an allegation that Barba violated probation on a previous criminal conviction, for July 15 at the Hall of Justice.
According to prosecutors, Barba stabbed Smith two times, causing minor wounds to Smith’s leg, as the 49ers linebacker was attempting to disperse hundreds of people attending a party at Smith’s hillside home east of San Jose early in the morning of June 30, 2012.
Smith and his then-roommate, former 49er tight end Delanie Walker, hosted the party starting on June 29 at the rented luxury home in the 4000 block of Higuera Highland Lane.
Late into the party, Smith, after learning that a person had brandished a firearm at a bartender, went to his garage and ordered the people outside to leave.
Someone then fired three shots into the garage and missed Smith and others. Smith later told investigators that he went to retrieve a firearm, came back to the garage and a person uttered a “gang slur” at him.
Smith said told the people outside, “This is my house. I’m Aldon Smith.”
Then someone stabbed his leg twice and Smith reacted by kicking the person. He noticed his leg was bleeding from the superficial wounds when he reentered his garage.
Walker then took out a .45 caliber handgun, went out onto the driveway and shot the gun into the air to cause whoever fired into the garage to flee. But more gunshots from an unknown shooter were fired in return, wounding two party guests.
Smith later pointed out Barba as the person who stabbed him after viewing surveillance video of the attack, prosecutors said.
Barba was charged as a felon possessing a firearm and ammunition on Dec. 10, 2012 and was charged with the stabbing and gang enhancement last June.
An investigation by sheriff’s deputies into the party also resulted in criminal charges and civil suits against Smith.
The 49er has been charged with three felony counts of possessing illegal weapons, after sheriff’s deputies recovered three alleged assault rifles in his home.
The two people shot at the party, Ronndale Esporlas and Aaron Reyes, both filed suit against Smith and Walker, although Reyes last week reached an out of court settlement with the pair.
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