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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 24th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 7

DA delays death penalty decision

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

Murder defendants in the Anthony Ibarra homicide trial have to wait until June 6 to know if the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against them.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen repeated the DA’s decision several times during the latest arraignment hearing in the case, on April 18. The 10 defendants will once again wait to make their pleas, as the complaint hearing was continued for the fourth time since the March 17 murder.

In addition to continuing the case, Judge Rick Brown ruled that he will allow media to take photographs and video in the courtroom starting at the June 6 hearing. As with many of the other issues brought up in court on April 18, all 10 defense attorneys were unanimously against the decision.

The issue of whether defense teams could begin appointing their Keenan counsel—a second attorney brought in for death penalty cases—was also a hot-button issue with the attorneys.

While several wanted to be able to file their choices immediately, Brown informed attorneys they needed to wait until the DA made its decision about pursuing the death penalty. The DA also filed a second protective order for the discovery in the case, which didn’t make the defense attorneys happy.

The order prevents defendants from receiving copies of documents prosecutors say could potentially be used as information for more gang activity. Bramsen also said investigation is ongoing.

Brown told attorneys that if they wanted to file motions against anything decided in court that day, they should go ahead and file with the court.

“I want everyone to fully litigate all their desires; that’s the goal here,” Brown said. “I want it to be done orderly.”

After a couple of the defense attorneys disagreed over whether to omit their defendants’ names from the discovery, Brown said all the attorneys should be on the same page when it comes to filing motions, so nothing is repeated and everyone knows what’s going on.

“I assume you’re in communication with each other,” Brown said.

Ibarra was tortured and stabbed to death at a house on West Donovan Road in Santa Maria before being left in a U-haul moving truck that was later found on Los Padres Street in Orcutt.

The police department said it believes drug and gang activity were involved in the murder.

Reyes Gonzales Jr., Ramon David Maldonado, Manuel Santos Sauceda, David Murillo Maldonado Jr., Robert Stan Sosa, Anthony Jesus Solis, Verenisa Castillo Aviles, and Jason Michael Castillo are all being charged with murder with the special circumstance of street terrorism tacked on.

Everyone but Aviles is being charged with the special circumstances of lying in wait, kidnapping, torture, and murder for gang purposes. Those seven are also waiting to hear whether the DA will seek the death penalty against them. Carmen Danielle Cardenas and Pedro Torres Jr. are being charged as accessories to the murder after it was committed with the special circumstance of street terrorism.

The 10 defendants will be back in court on June 6.