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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 27th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 3

Homicide arraignment continued again

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

The cacophony of six lawyers speaking to six defendants in the courtroom’s holding cell made it hard to understand exactly who was talking and what they were saying on the afternoon of March 25. Meanwhile, two more pairs of defendants and their lawyers stood close by in the courtroom.


MULTIPLE-AGENCY EFFORT:
Ralph Martin, chief of the Santa Maria Police Department, spoke to the press on March 25 about the multi-agency effort to arrest eight people allegedly connected to the March 18 murder of Anthony Ibarra.
PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

That equals a total of eight suspects arrested in connection with a brutal homicide committed on March 18. All the suspects and their lawyers were in court for an arraignment hearing on March 25.

However, the litigators and Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge John McGregor scrambled to understand exactly who was being charged with what, as the district attorney amended the complaint at the last minute. The arraignment hearing, which was scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m., finally began around 3 p.m. before being continued to April 10 at 8:30 a.m. because lawyers hadn’t yet seen the evidence compiled against their clients.

In all, six of the defendants—Reyes Gonzales Jr., Ramon David Maldonado, Santos Manuel Sauceda, David Murillo Maldonado Jr., Robert Stan Sosa, and Anthony Jesus Solis—are being charged with murdering Anthony Ibarra with special circumstances, including torture, lying in wait, kidnapping, street terrorism, serious/violent felony, and murder committed for criminal street gang purposes. The other two defendants, Carmen Danielle Cardenas and Pedro Torres Jr., are being charged as accessories to murder after the fact with special circumstances, including street terrorism and serious/violent felony.

Ramon David Maldonado is also being charged with two counts of using force or threat to dissuade a witness with the special circumstance of street terrorism.

During a press conference on March 25, Santa Maria Chief of Police Ralph Martin said it was a combined effort from several agencies that led to the arrests. The investigation began on March 19, after police were called to a house on the 1100 block of West Donovan Street.

There was “clear evidence that a brutal assault had taken place,” Martin said. “The crime scene on Donovan was so horrific that a crime had to have been committed there.” He declined to go into further detail.

As more witnesses and information came forward, police eventually found out that a U-haul truck was rented and discarded on Los Padres Street in Orcutt. In the back of that truck, investigators found the body of 28-year-old Ibarra. The body had marks that showed evidence of torture, and the fatal blow was a stab wound.

Over the next three days, the police were able to make the eight arrests. Martin said the investigation is still ongoing and that police weren’t able to release motive or which street gangs were allegedly involved. However, he did say that the scene on Donovan was the result of a combination of drug, gang, and territorial activity that “came to a head at this location.”