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Mesa Stabbing Suspects Take Plea Deal, Face Prison Time

Charges are downgraded for two of the three men, who all plead no contest

Two men originally charged with attempted murder and assault in a Mesa stabbing earlier this year have had their charges downgraded via a plea deal, but they still face years of prison time.

Sean Crane, 23, Michael Hardy, 22, and Eddie Mesa Jr., 23, all of Santa Barbara, were charged in connection with two stabbings that occurred April 13 at a Mesa neighborhood party on Del Mar Avenue. The attack sent two men to the hospital, one with life-threatening injuries.

All three appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Tuesday, entering no-contest pleas to their new charges.

Crane had been charged with attempted murder and use of a deadly weapon on a 40-year-old man who spent 16 days in Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but is now facing assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury, and most likely will be sentenced to seven years of prison time in October.

Crane would have served nine years with the former charge, and Deputy District Attorney Anthony Davis said he was pleased that the prison time would remain close to the original time slated.

He said proving Crane’s intent to kill was difficult because of the circumstances that night, and thus the charge was changed.

“There were two separate fights with a large number of people around,” Davis said. “To prove his intent at the time was going to be more difficult, so the charge was reduced because of the facts of the case.”

Crane is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29 in Judge Clifford Anderson’s courtroom, where the attempted murder charge will be dismissed if all goes as planned, Davis said.

Hardy, who was originally charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a 23-year-old victim, was downgraded to assault resulting in great bodily injury, and pleaded no contest to that charged. Hardy had also been charged with assault in an older case, which resulted in five years additional, and three years for the April 13 case. He was sentenced Tuesday.

Mesa, a lance corporal with the U.S. Marines, was initially charged with accessory to attempted murder, but pleaded no contest to resisting, obstructing or delaying law enforcement. He has already served the jail time in that charge, Davis said, and is out of custody.

“I think generally speaking our office is pleased with the disposition and feel that justice will be served,” Davis said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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.

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