Tuesday, May 24 , 2016, 2:19 am | Mostly Cloudy 55º




Trial in Ibarra Murder-Torture Case Delayed Until November

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

The trial for the eight remaining defendants accused in the gang-related torture and slaying of a Santa Maria man has been postponed several months so defense attorneys — and one of the accused now representing himself — can better prepare and sift through thousands of pages of evidence.

Originally scheduled to start in May, the trial for those indicted in the slaying of Anthony Ibarra, 28, on March 17, 2013, has been continued until Nov. 17.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Rick Brown last week follows several motions from defense attorneys who are still struggling to go through 11,000 pages of material and 60-plus hours of audio and video tapes during discovery.

Defense attorney Tom Allen, who is representing Reyes Gonzalez, said he has barely dented the massive amount of evidence despite having a paralegal and investigator help peruse the material — more of which keeps arriving.

Allen said he filed what’s been the first continuance request in the case, along with defense attorneys Addison Steele (representing Anthony Solis) and David Bixby (representing David Maldonado), all of whom are currently on trial in other criminal cases or scheduled to be soon.

“We’re continuing to get new information,” Allen told Noozhawk. “It would not be fair to try this case without obviously having all the defense attorneys No. 1 available, and No. 2 prepared.”

Along with the continuance, Brown granted defendant Ramon Maldonado’s request to represent himself during trial instead of his attorney, Michael Scott.

Allen said he’s unsure what effect that might also have on timing for the trial, since a bulk of the discovery information is under a protective order and can’t be shared inside Santa Barbara County Jail, where all eight defendants remain.

The defendants are next due back in Santa Barbara Juvenile Court — where proceedings are being held because of the large number of attorneys, etc. — on May 23 so attorneys can provide an update regarding discovery, and so the judge can determine whether an order should be issued to clear the attorneys’ schedules of other trials once the Ibarra trial begins, likely lasting through next February, Allen said.

Maldonado will be back in court sooner on March 27 regarding some motions he wants to file, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.

“It’s rare that homicide cases get to trial within a couple years,” Allen said. “It isn’t trying to delay to throw things. It’s to make sure, from a defense perspective, that we have done everything we can to represent our clients.”

Three other defendants already have pleaded out in the case: Verenisa Aviles, Pedro Torres and Carmen Cardenas.

Details involving the murder of Ibarra were revealed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was obtained by Noozhawk in partnership with KEYT.

Several defendants face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

 

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.