Teenager's preliminary hearing set for September

CLEARLAKE – A teenager accused of the murder of a schoolmate was in court Friday for the setting of her preliminary hearing date.

Gabrielle Rachel Varney, 18, is facing charges of murder and a special allegation of using a knife in the June 5 death of 17-year-old Heather Valdez. Varney pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

Her attorney, Stephen Carter, said Varney went before Judge Richard Freeborn in Lake County Superior Court's Department 4 Friday afternoon.

Carter said Varney's preliminary hearing in the case will be held Tuesday, Sept. 30.

He said the case will be called on Sept. 26 for the purpose of assigning the preliminary hearing to a specific department.

Varney and Valdez allegedly were involved in a confrontation after getting off the school bus from Carlé High School, where they were both students, as Lake County News has reported.

Police said the girls had been involved in a feud for months before the fight occurred.

Varney remains in the Lake County Jail.

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