She said custody deputies discovered an assault in progress at 12:20 p.m. and found Pedro Torres, 54, in his cell with significant injuries. Authorities “have individuals that we’re looking at,” but no suspect names have been released. The assault is still under investigation.
Torres is charged with accessory to murder in the case and has a Santa Maria Superior Court arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday morning. He was taken to a medical facility after the assault and won’t be able to attend the hearing, Hoover said.
It’s unclear if Torres was assaulted by someone in his own cell.
“Due to the security reasons, we are not able to disclose Mr. Torres’ housing situation,” Hoover said.
A criminal grand jury indicted nine people who prosecutors say are responsible for the brutal torture and slaying of Ibarra, a Santa Maria man and gang member. Many of them are also being charged with special allegations of lying in wait, torture, kidnapping and committing the crimes in furtherance of a criminal street gang.
Two others, including Torres, were indicted for people accessories after the fact to murder with a gang enhancement.
Police investigated a “possible violent crime” reported March 18 in Santa Maria and found no body at the reported residence, but investigations the next morning found Ibarra’s body in a U-Haul truck parked on Los Padres Street in Orcutt.
Ibarra, 28, appears to have been tortured over a two- to three-hour period, and an autopsy shows he died of a stab wound, Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin said.