SANTA MARIA - Pleas are finally entered in a Santa Maria murder case involving ten defendants.
A grand jury handed down indictments against the nine men and one woman several months ago after the body of Anthony Ibarra was found in the back of an abandoned rental truck in March.
On Friday afternoon for the first time since their arrests, the ten remaining Ibarra defendants all entered not guilty pleas to the various charges against them including murder, accessory to murder and other gang-related enhancements.
They're all charged in the alleged kidnapping, torture and murder of Anthony Ibarra last March in a home on West Donovan Road in Santa Maria.
His body was found a couple days later in the back of a U-Haul truck parked in Orcutt.
The attorney for one of the ten Ibarra defendants, Pedro Torres, says she's negotiating with the District Attorney's office on a plea agreement.
"Mr. Torres is the only one left charged with accessory after the fact of murder, with a gang allegation and prison priors", says Assistant District Attorney Ann Bramsen, "so he's not charged with the murder, he's in a little different situation from the other defendants."
Another Ibarra defendant, Carmen Cardenas, accepted a plea agreement to accessory to murder earlier this year and has already begun serving a more than three year prison sentence
The judge in the Ibarra case has set a trial date for next May, with the prosecution saying it could take up to ten weeks including jury selection.
"It's a little different because we did the Grand Jury, the case has already been heard in a mini-type trial, in a Grand Jury you actually have the witnesses testify which is different than a preliminary hearing you can have hearsay", Bramsen says, "so when we you do Grand Juries the trials often occur at a much quicker pace than when you file just the original complaint."
The Ibarra case is being heard in Juvenile Court because the courtroom is big enough for all ten defendants and their attorneys.
The Ibarra case will return to Juvenile Court on December 13.
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