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Local News

Santa Barbara Man Sentenced to Prison for 2009 Gang Murder

Santa Barbara man Andrew Baldarez was sentenced to state prison for the 2009 gang murder of Baldemar Leal, the District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

The 22-year-old Leal was stabbed to death on Feb. 21, 2009 and found on the 400 block of De la Vina Street at Haley Street.

In January, Baldarez pleaded guilty to charges including second-degree murder and committing the crime for the benefit of the Westside criminal street gang.  

Superior Court Judge Michael Carrozzo sentenced Baldarez to 25 years to life in state prison, prosecutor Hans Almgren said.

Baldarez also admitted to a gang enhancement and two prior felony convictions of assault with a deadly weapon, one from 1992 and one from 1998, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors say that Michelle Flores-Murillo called Leal the night of his death and asked him to meet at Brownie’s Market on lower De la Vina Street.

Former defendants gave different motives for the crimes, but Leal was lured to the market and assaulted by Westside gang members David Martinez, Jonathan Alonzo and Baldarez, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Baldarez later stated that Imelda Guevara had approached him and others to “rough up” a person she was having a problem with, according to authorities.

Baldarez stated that he “just snapped” and began “hitting” Leal multiple times with a knife.

Alonzo, Martinez and Guevara were each sentenced to nine years in prison and Flores-Murillo received probation after serving more than 1,000 days in jail, Almgren has said.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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