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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 2:18 am | Fair 44º


Judge Declares Mistrial After Jurors Deadlock in Carachure Murder Case

Jury convicts all four defendants of street terrorism but can't reach consensus on murder charges

Judge Brian Hill declared a mistrial Wednesday in the four-defendant murder case for the stabbing death of Lorenzo Carachure.

The jury convicted all four defendants of street terrorism — with a maximum sentence of three years — but was deadlocked on murder charges after nearly two weeks of deliberations.

Defendants Ruben Mize, Bryan Mendinilla, Raul Diaz and Ricardo Nava each were charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of street terrorism in the July 2007 stabbing death of 16-year-old Carachure. The prosecution argued that the act was gang-related, saying the defendants’ MySpace pages, clothing and tattoos showed involvement in the Eastside gang.

Mize was found guilty of the 2008 attempted murder of Prospero Sotelo that occurred on the Westside, but the jury was hung on all other counts.

Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Hans Almgren had the option of dropping the first-degree murder charge for a lesser one, but he didn’t. The case could be settled or retried with the same or lesser charges. Almgren couldn’t be reached for comment.

Sam Eaton, who represented Nava, said the jury became more and more split as deliberations went on.

“This morning, they had a question about premeditation and deliberation,” he said. “It’s gone from 11-1 to 9-3 to 8-4. The judge flat-out asked the jury if they’d consider second-degree murder for Mize, and they said yes,” though it means nothing officially.

In August, the District Attorney’s Office and defense attorneys will try to resolve the issue or set new trial dates. 

All four defendants have about two years of credit served, of the maximum three-year sentence for street terrorism. 

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Noozhawk intern Michael Goldsholl contributed to this report.

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