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BAIL HIKED FOR SLAYING SUSPECT.

Byline: Don Holland Daily News Staff Writer

Bail was raised Thursday to $1 million for a Ventura woman who pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting her husband before dismembering him with a table saw - a grisly case that drew a crush of news cameras.

A haggard Gladis Guadalupe Barreras, 37, held her head down during her two-minute arraignment in the killing of Pedro Barragan Alba, 35. When Judge Bruce Clark increased bail from $250,000 to $1 million, several onlookers gasped in amazement.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Patricia Murphy said the fourfold bail increase was justified because of the grisly nature of the slaying and to prevent Barreras from bailing out and possibly hurting others.

``We fear for the safety of family members,'' Murphy said after the hearing. ``Two of the things that we consider when we ask for a bail increase are the safety of others as well as a flight risk. And we had concerns about both of those areas.''

Defense attorney Jorge Alvarado refused to comment on the case, instead focusing on the tragedy of the situation.

``We would appreciate everyone's respect here for the grieving families because of the tragic loss on both sides here,'' Alvarado said. ``And that's all I have to say. The rest of the case will be coming forward in its due process in court.''

Police said Barreras shot the sleeping Alba in the head about 2 a.m. Saturday. With her five young children in the house, she hid Alba's body in a closet until late Saturday night, when she dragged it to the garage and used an electric table saw to remove the head and limbs.

She put the severed body parts in plastic bags, drove to a remote area near the Ventura River and the Ventura County Fairgrounds and set the remains afire, police said.

Tommy Wright, a transient who spotted the burning body parts, was ordered to return to court for Barreras' April 15 preliminary hearing. He declined to talk about the case as he walked from court surrounded by reporters.

Barreras is charged with murder and use of a gun in the commission of a murder. If convicted, she could be sentenced to two terms of 25 years to life in prison. She would not be eligible for the death penalty.

She is also facing a charge of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a Jan. 10 attack on Maria C. Ortega of Oxnard, Alba's mistress. Barreras is accused of slamming her car into Ortega's van after finding her husband at Ortega's house.

Murphy, the prosecutor, declined to talk about a possible love triangle. Investigators, she said, are looking into Barreras' claims that her husband frequently abused her physically and verbally during their 15-year marriage.

CAPTION(S):

photo

PHOTO (color in Simi and Conejo edition) Gladis Guadalupe Barreras pleaded not guilty to killing and dismembering her husband during her arraignment Thursday.

Michael Owen Baker/Daily News
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 26, 1999
Words:491
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