A fourth defendant indicted in the gang-related torture and slaying of a Santa Maria man pleaded guilty to charges this week.
Robert Sosa, 19, of Santa Maria, appeared in Santa Maria court Wednesday and entered the guilty plea to kidnapping with a gang enhancement, and will receive 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced Dec. 18, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.
Sosa’s plea leaves seven remaining defendants to stand trial in the March 17, 2013, slaying of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra.
That murder trial is tentatively scheduled to begin Nov. 17, and is expected to last several months.
The remaining defendants — Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr. and Jason Castillo — are still in custody and are expected back in court on May 23 so attorneys can provide an update regarding how much discovery material they’ve gotten through.
Three other defendants already have pleaded out in the case: Verenisa Aviles, Pedro Torres and Carmen Cardenas.
Several defendants face life in prison without parole if convicted.