The last two defendants in a 2010 gang beating that left one man dead on Santa Barbara’s Eastside were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on Monday.
George Ied, 36, was attacked in October 2010 while walking to his Eastside home from a Milpas liquor store where he worked.
Just blocks from his home, Ied, who had no gang affiliation, was intercepted by gang members and beaten to death, even though prosecutors said he not done anything to provoke the beating.
Ied died in the hospital after being on life support for several days.
In the following weeks, four arrests were made in the case, including brothers Ismael and Miguel Parra, Michael Cardenas and Steven Santana.
Santana pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and became a witness for the prosecution. Ismael Parra also testified during the trial.
After jurors deliberated for six days, looking over 300 exhibits in the case, they found Cardenas and Ismael Parra guilty of second-degree murder, as well as battery and street terrorism.
The jury was deadlocked, 10-2, on charges against Miguel Parra, who took a plea deal in May.
On Monday, Santana and Miguel Parra were both sentenced to 16 years in prison and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution each.
Ismael Parra and Cardenas were sentenced last month, and both will be facing 15 years to life in prison.
Last month, Judge Brian Hill called the crime "vicious" and "unprovoked,” and stated that he felt there was conclusive evidence that Michael Cardenas had been the instigator in the incident that led to Ied’s death.
Santana and Parra were the subject of Monday’s sentencing, and Hill spoke about Santana’s decision to testify.
“You could take the position that he was courageous,” Hill said, while another perspective is that he wasn’t totally truthful at first and later testified against his former friends.
But Santana did decide to testify for the people, subjecting himself to a “grueling cross-examination” from the other attorneys in the case.
“That’s not insignificant to the court,” Hill said. “It was a very difficult thing for him to do.”
Hill echoed many of the sentiments he stated during the sentencing of Parra and Cardenas, calling the attack on Ied, a religious refugee from the Middle East, “incomprehensible.”
Though the maximum sentence for Santana was 21 years, Prosecutor Hans Almgren asked Hill for a lesser sentence for because of the defendant’s cooperation, which Hill granted.
Santana’s attorney, Joe Allen, said that Santana had disavowed his entire way of life to testify, and could potentially be a target for retaliation when he goes to prison.
Santana himself also expressed a few words to Hill, saying that if he could go back and change his life, his attitudes towards school and family, he would.
“There’s no doubt that you are committed to turning your life around,” Hill acknowledged, but also said that the severity of the crime warranted prison time.
If the beating had occurred with just one attacker, Ied might have survived. But because there were four defendants engaged in the beating, Ied took blow after blow without the chance to defend himself, Hill said.
Santana was sentenced to six years for voluntary manslaughter and 10 years for the gang enhancement charge. He will also serve a concurrent three-year sentence for street terrorism.
He must pay $10,000 in restitution, as well as $10,457 to the state victim’s compensation board.
He has already served 1,191 days, so will have those custody credits applied to his sentence.
Miguel Parra will receive the same sentence and has served 1,193 days.
His attorney, Sam Eaton, also spoke on his behalf, saying that Parra tried to stay out of the fray, and also to get his brother, Ismael, to go back into the house and avoid the fight.
Hill said that Parra had a long criminal history before this incident, filled with “violent gang activity,” he said.
Though it was difficult to parse out culpability between the three defendants, with Cardenas being the exception, he said, prison time was warranted for Parra as well as Santana.