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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on June 12th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 14

Once-a-month hearings scheduled for murder case

BY AMY ASMAN AND CAMILLIA LANHAM

Orange and blue jumpsuits were swapped for suits, ties, and makeup at the June 6 hearing that allowed media for the first time to capture images of the defendants charged in connection with the brutal murder of Anthony Ibarra.

The cacophony of voices echoing out from behind the glass of the courtroom holding cell during the first few hearings for the 11 defendants that day seemed hushed to a mere murmur of whispers. While the chaos that initially defined the case has calmed somewhat, the undercurrent of tension remains. The plea hearing was continued, and the motions from attorneys kept coming at Judge Rick Brown.

During the hearing, Brown continually asked attorneys to “put it in writing” and to file their motions for the next hearing, scheduled for July 18. In fact, he’d like to schedule hearings in the case once a month for the foreseeable future, so all the motions that will inevitably pop up can be heard in a somewhat orderly fashion.

Some of the attorneys’ requests included getting rid of the gag order issued on discovery in the case, to which Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen replied that the DA’s Office was filing a third gag order on the discovery being released to attorneys after court.

Pedro Torres, one of 11 defendants in the case, missed the hearing because he was assaulted in his jail cell earlier in the week and suffered injuries.

In May, a criminal grand jury indicted Torres and his fellow defendants in connection with the torture and murder of 28-year-old Ibarra, whose body was found in the back of a U-haul truck in Orcutt on March 19. Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzales, Jr., Santos Sauceda, David Maldonado, Robert Sosa, Anthony Solis, Verenisa Aviles, Ramon Maldonado, Jr., and Jason Castillo were indicted on murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

Ramon and David Maldonado, Gonzales, Sauceda, Sosa, Solis, and Castillo were also indicted for the special allegations of lying in wait, torture, kidnapping, and committing a crime to further street gang activity. Ramon Maldonado was also indicted on witness intimidation with a gang enhancement charge. Carmen Cardenas and Torres were indicted for accessory after the fact with a gang enhancement charge.

Though only 14 years old, Maldonado, Jr. is being tried as an adult. He and Aviles could face sentences of 25 years to life if convicted. The remaining murder suspects face the possibility of life without parole. Cardenas faces a maximum sentence of seven years, and Torres has the possibility of a maximum sentence of 10 years.