One of 11 defendants in the gang-related torture and homicide of Anthony Ibarra has pleaded no contest to the charges.
Carmen Cardenas, 28, of Santa Maria entered the plea to charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder, and admitted to a gang enhancement, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.
Cardenas, who was sentenced last week to three years and four months in state prison, was markedly absent Thursday when the remaining 10 defendants appeared for arraignment in a more accommodating room of the Santa Maria Juvenile Court, Bramsen said.
The proceedings were recently moved from Superior Court into the Santa Maria juvenile court facilities so the case’s remaining defendants and attorneys would have a larger, more adequate space to sit and take notes.
The defendants, who are still in custody, have been indicted in connection with the gang-related torture and murder of Ibarra, 28, on March 17.
On Thursday, arraignment for the remaining defendants was continued to Oct. 18, Bramsen said.
Details involving the murder of Ibarra, who was a Santa Maria resident and fellow gang member, were revealed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was obtained by Noozhawk in partnership with KEYT. The case was the subject of a subsequent series of Noozhawk stories.
Prosecutors have previously said they will not seek the death penalty in the case, but several defendants face life in prison without parole if convicted.