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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 10:30 pm | Fair 56º


Carachure Murder Case Resumes Friday — a Month After Mistrial

Jurors convicted the four defendants of street terrorism but deadlocked on murder charges

A two-month murder trial involving four defendants accused of stabbing to death a 16-year-old Santa Barbara boy will continue Friday after Judge Brian Hill declared a mistrial last month.

Ruben Mize, Ricardo Nava, Bryan Medinilla and Raul Diaz were convicted of street terrorism — carrying a maximum prison term of three years — but the jury couldn’t reach a consensus on a first-degree murder charge or two attempted murder charges.

Lorenzo Carachure, 16, was walking to his home on San Pascual Street with his cousin and friend when, prosecutors said, a larger group approached them near Ortega Street and stabbed them July 16, 2007. The prosecution argued it was gang-related because of the defendant’s MySpace pages, tattoos and clothing that implied membership in the Eastside gang.

Defense attorney Sam Eaton, who represented Diaz, said the jury’s inability to unanimously agree on the murder charges made it clear that the death didn’t qualify as first-degree murder.

“(Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Hans Almgren) wanted first-degree murder, and since he didn’t get it, he will try again,” Eaton told Noozhawk on Thursday. “Unless he offers something realistic, then we are right back where we started.”

When discussing premeditation of the murder, the jury became more split as deliberation went on. But some jurors indicated they most likely would have convicted Mize of second-degree murder with a gang enhancement, and considered the other defendants as well, Eaton said.

Almgren could have dropped the stiffer charge and allowed the jury to consider a lesser charge after the stalemate, but he declined to do so. He told Noozhawk that while he doesn’t want to discuss specifics before the trial, he respected the jury’s determination and will discuss the case Friday, which is most likely to be retried.

Friday’s court hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

All four defendants have about two years of time served for the maximum three-year street terrorism conviction.

Mize was found guilty of the 2008 attempted murder of Prospero Sotelo on the Westside, but the jury was deadlocked on all other counts. He faces a sentence of 15 years to life.

Mize also faces a charge for an alleged assault that occurred in Juvenile Hall, an attempted murder charge for another stabbing in 2007, and a charge of jumping in a gang member.

Nava, 19, is serving a 19-year sentence for pleading to an attempted murder charge in 2007.

Noozhawk intern Alex Kacik is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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