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Local News

2 Teens Plead Guilty in Connection with Santa Maria Stabbing Near Pioneer Valley High School

Two boys charged in connection with a fatal stabbing of a 15 year old in northeast Santa Maria have pleaded guilty while the case proceeds against the other four defendants.

The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. Jan. 25 in the 1600 block of East Donovan Road near Suey Road during a confrontation between two groups.

Marco Arce Ramos Pena, a student at nearby Pioneer Valley High School, was stabbed in the afternoon altercation and died later at Marian Regional Medical Center.

Six people were charged in connection with the stabbing, with several arrested months afterward.

They were charged with murder and a special allegation that the crime was connected to gang activity.

The defendants ranged in age from 14 to 19 at the time of the killing, which was one of Santa Maria’s six homicides in January.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office charged the juveniles as adults.

In late September, 16-year-old Andrew Molina pleaded guilty to an added count of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury plus a gang allegation, Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu said.

On Dec. 7, he is expected to be sentenced to four years in state prison.

In early November, a second defendant, Gerardo Gonzalez Flores, now 17, pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and admitted the gang enhancement.

Under the plea deal, he will be sentenced to eight years in prison during a hearing Dec. 14.

The original murder charge against the pair was dropped under the plea agreement.

Four remaining defendants — Israel Gaspar Cruz, 19; Carlos Geovani Perez, now 15; Daniel Jaime, 17; and Pablo Juarez, 16 — were ordered to return to court in early January.

Cruz is accused of wielding the weapon during the altercation.

During the Jan. 4 hearing, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Gustavo Lavayen is expected to schedule a preliminary hearing.

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.

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