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Santa Maria Man Sentenced for Assaulting CHP Officer

Michael Paul Ledesma

A 19-year-old Santa Maria man was formally sentenced Wednesday to serve six years in prison for assaulting a California Highway Patrol officer near Los Alamos at the end of a pursuit in July 2012.

Michael Paul Ledesma, who was subsequently shot and critically wounded by the CHP officer, received the previously agreed-to sentence from Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelly after appearing in a Santa Maria courtroom.

The sentence stems from a deal struck with Santa Barbara County prosecutors on Sept. 4, when Ledesma pleaded guilty to felony assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer, and to a second count after admitting a gang allegation, according to Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy.

Ledesma also pleaded guilty to an added count of assault against a woman who made the 9-1-1 call that initiated the pursuit, Duffy said.

Duffy noted that while Ledesma was technically sentenced to seven years in prison, he waived one year of custody credits for time already served, and will subsequently serve the other six.

The charges stem from an incident that began about 4 p.m. July 15, 2012, when CHP officers and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call from Ledesma's female companion, who reported that he was threatening her and her baby with a knife in a vehicle near Los Alamos.

Prosecutors alleged that Ledesma confronted CHP Sgt. Dan Barba — the first officer on scene — with a knife after Barba pulled his cruiser behind Ledesma’s vehicle on Highway 135, two miles west of Los Alamos.

Believing he was in imminent danger, Barba fired his gun several times, and Ledesma was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with critical injuries.

Last December, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley ruled that Barba was justified in shooting Ledesma.

Ledesma, who had been held since the incident in County Jail in lieu of $1.23 million bail, originally faced four felony charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer; assault with a deadly weapon on a woman who made the 9-1-1 call, and felony child endangerment.

He also faced special allegations of use of a deadly weapon and street terrorism, and committing the offense for the benefit of or at the direction of or in association with a criminal street gang.

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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