SANTA MARIA – Police arrested a 11th suspect – a minor – this week in an ongoing homicide investigation that’s related to illicit drugs and street gangs.
Ramon Maldonado Jr., 14, of Santa Maria, was taken into custody just before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, after his mother brought him to the Police Department in connection with the March 18 torture and murder of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra, also of Santa Maria.
He was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail on first-degree murder charges and will be tried as an adult, facing 25 years to life if convicted of Ibarra’s murder.
The teen’s father and grandfather have also been charged in the case, where the district attorney announced she won’t be seeking the death penalty for any of the defendants.
Investigators discovered Ibarra’s body in the back of an abandoned U-Haul truck in mid-March in a residential neighborhood of Orcutt, although they believe the man was tortured and killed at a home in Santa Maria, according to police.
No motive for the slaying has been offered by police, but investigators have said that drugs and street gangs played a role in Ibarra’s murder.
Also in custody for the slaying are: David Murillo Maldonado, 55, Santos Manuel Sauceda, 33, Robert Sosa, 19, Anthony Jesus Solis, 28, Ramon Maldonado, 37, Carmen Cardenas, 28, Pedro Torres, 54, Jason Michael Castillo, 29, Verenisa Castillo Aviles, 19, and Reyes Gonzales, 42. Gonzales is a documented street-gang member and resident of Guadalupe.
KCOY: 14-Year-Old Arrested and Charged in Connection with Murder Case
KeyT: Teenager Arrested in Ibarra Homicide