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Third Defendant Takes Plea Deal in Ibarra Murder Case

Verenisa Aviles

A third defendant in the gang-related torture and slaying of a Santa Maria man has made a deal with prosecutors, entering a no-contest plea that will result in almost 10 years in prison.

Verenisa Aviles entered the plea Thursday in Superior Court in Santa Maria to kidnapping with a gang allegation, false imprisonment, and assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury in the case of Anthony Ibarra, a Santa Maria resident and fellow gang member, whose murder was detailed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was made public last year.

Aviles will received nine years and eight months in prison when she is sentenced on May 8, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.

Two other defendants have already taken plea deals.  Bramsen did not comment on whether Aviles or the two other defendants would be called to testify during a jury trial.

Pedro Torres Jr., 54, of Santa Maria, pleaded guilty in December to being an accessory after the fact to murder, and admitted to a gang enhancement, and will receive three years in prison.

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.

The remaining defendants — Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, Robert Sosa, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr., Jason Castillo — are still in custody and awaiting trial that is tentatively set for May.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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