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Local News

Judge Denies Request to Relocate Ibarra Murder Trial

A Santa Maria judge on Friday denied a defense attorney’s request to move the trial for the gang-related torture and homicide of Anthony Ibarra out of the area.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Rick Brown follows a motion filed by attorney Addison Steele, who is representing Anthony Solis, 28, of Santa Maria — one of the nine remaining defendants who were indicted in connection with the slaying of Ibarra, 28, on March 17, 2013.

The case is currently being heard in a room at the Santa Maria Juvenile Court because the Cook Street Santa Barbara County Superior Court complex did not have adequate space to accommodate the defendants and each of their nine attorneys.

The defendants are next scheduled to appear in court on March 14, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.

A tentative trial date has been set for May 12.

The number of defendants in the case has been whittled down from an original 11.

In December, Pedro Torres Jr., 54, of Santa Maria, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder, and admitted to a gang enhancement, Bramsen said.

He faces up to three years in prison when he’s sentenced later this month.

Murder victim Anthony Ibarra

Carmen Cardenas, 28, of Santa Maria was sentenced in September to three years and four months in state prison after pleading no contest to charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder and admitting to a gang enhancement.

The remaining defendants, who are still in custody, are Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, Robert Sosa, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr., Jason Castillo, and Verenisa Aviles.

Details involving the murder of Ibarra, who was a Santa Maria resident and fellow gang member, were revealed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was obtained by Noozhawk in partnership with KEYT.

The case was the subject of a subsequent in-depth series of Noozhawk stories.

Prosecutors have previously said they will not seek the death penalty in the case, but several defendants face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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