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Local News

Second Defendant Pleads Out in Ibarra Gang Homicide

Pedro Torres Jr.

A second defendant in the gang-related torture and homicide of Anthony Ibarra has pleaded guilty to the charges.

Pedro Torres Jr., 54, of Santa Maria appeared in court Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder, and admitted to a gang enhancement, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.

Torres will receive the upper term of a possible three years when he is sentenced Feb. 27, Bramsen said.

Torres had previously entered a not-guilty plea when he appeared for arraignment in October with the nine other remaining defendants, who have been indicted in connection with the gang-related torture and murder of Ibarra, 28, on March 17.

An 11th defendant, 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 for admitting to a gang enhancement.

Torres's plea deal was struck with prosecutors nearly a week before the rest of the defendants are due back in court for a readiness-and-settlement hearing.

The defendants, who are still in custody, are set to appear next Friday in Santa Maria Juvenile Court ahead of a May 12 trial date, which was set by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown.

The remaining defendants include 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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