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Case Settled Against Youngest Ibarra Murder Defendant

The case against a teenager charged along with several others — including his father and grandfather — for the gang-related torture and killing of a 28-year-old man two years ago has been quietly resolved in Santa Maria Juvenile Court.

Ramon Maldonado Jr.

Ramon Maldonado Jr., or Lil Ray, was 14 on March 17, 2013, when Anthony Ibarra was killed in a house on West Donovan Road.

Ibarra reportedly was killed due to drug debts. His body was found days later in a U-Haul truck parked on a street in Orcutt. 

In May 2013, a Santa Barbara County Criminal Grand Jury indicted multiple people for their roles in the slaying, with the teen being the youngest.

Prosecutors initially decided to charge the teen as an adult, and he appeared alongside other defendants in pre-trial hearings.

In October, Judge Rick Brown granted a motion to sever the youth’s case from the adults’ trial.

However, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen confirmed this week that the matter returned to juvenile court.

“We made the decision at the end of 2014 because we felt, based on everything we know now, it is in the interest of justice to return him to juvenile court,” Bramsen said. 

He was the 11th suspect arrested in connection with Ibarra’s killing.

Santa Barbara-based Michael Carty represented Ramon Maldonado Jr. 

“The juvenile matter has been resolved, and adult proceedings against him have been dismissed,” Carty said Friday.

Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney declined to reveal details, saying the juvenile proceedings are confidential.

“I am most pleased in how it was resolved,” Carty said. “And I can also say he earned that resolution.”

Since he has been detained, Maldonado Jr. has been an “exemplary kid” while in Juvenile Hall, Carty said.

When his case was severed from the adults’ last fall, Bramsen said, she agreed because of his age at the time of the slaying, his alleged role in the crimes, and his lack of prior criminal history.

In additional to his father, Ramon Maldonado, and grandfather, David Maldonado, four other men are on trial for the death of Ibarra. They are Reyes Gonzales, Jason Castillo, Anthony Solis and Santos Sauceda. 

Four more defendants — Robert Stan Sosa, Pedro Torres Jr., Carmen Cardenas and Verenisa Aviles — accepted plea deals.

During testimony in the trial so far, witnesses have identified Ramon Maldonado Jr., as being in the house for a short time the day of the killing, but did not connect him as a participant in the brutal deadly attack.

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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