Thursday, May 26 , 2016, 10:39 am | A Few Clouds 63º

Judge Emphatic About November Start for Trial in Anthony Ibarra Murder-Torture Case

By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | @JaneneScully |

A judge in a Santa Maria gang-related torture and slaying case with seven defendants re-emphasized on Friday his intention for the trial to start in mid-November.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown also spelled out the remainder of the schedule to ensure that the Nov. 17 starting date for the trial remains on track.

“We’re going to move relentlessly … forward to bring this trial to completion,” Brown said.

Seven defendants will stand trial in the March 17, 2013, slaying of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra, who was killed in a West Donovan Road house in north Santa Maria, authorities said. His body was found in a U-Haul rental truck located in Orcutt.

The defendants are Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr. and Jason Castillo. Four other defendants, Pedro Torres Jr., Carmen Cardenas, Verenisa Aviles and Robert Stan Sosa, accepted pleas in the case.

The judge on Friday reminded the six defense attorneys plus Ramon Maldonado, who is representing himself, of the upcoming deadlines for submitting and responding to motions so the Nov. 17 trial date remains on track.

“We’re all going to work very hard to be ready to go the 17th,” Brown added.

Brown also shared about plans for the testimony to run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with two 15-minute breaks each day during trial, a schedule developed after consulting judges in other counties with trials that also involved multiple defendants.

“It’s the only way to move a trial like this through to completion,” he said.

Friday’s hearing also involved attorneys discussing access to recordings of the defendants’ jail phone calls and mail.

When Ramon Maldonado questioned why only some mail is included in discovery, or possible evidence, given to him, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen said it’s up to jail officials to decide what mail is passed along. Typically, jail officials remain mum about that process, she added.

“It’s for the security of the institution,” Bramsen said.

Another hearing is planned for Aug. 15 for the judge to rule on other pre-trial matters.

Some attorneys told of scheduling conflicts due to other cases before different judges, but Brown offered to intercede so the attorneys are free for the mid-August hearing — and the schedule isn’t interrupted.

Legal matters in this case are being heard in Santa Maria Juvenile Court because it’s the largest suitable facility to accommodate the multiple defendants and their attorneys.

In March, Brown set the Nov. 17 trial date to give defense attorneys time to sift through thousands of pages of evidence in the case. The trial is expected to last several months.

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

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.