May 23, 2013 6:45 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News
A 14-year old in Santa Maria is charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and gang enhancement charges.
He's the eleventh person charged by a Santa Maria grand jury in the death of Anthony Ibarra.
KSBY also learned on Thursday that Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley decided against the death penalty if the eleven are convicted.
Santa Maria police say Anthony Ibarra was tortured and killed inside his home on March 17, 2013.
Police were called to the home a day later but there was no body.
Police later located Ibarra's body inside a U-Haul truck near Orcutt.
According to District Attorney Joyce Dudley, the average death penalty case can take 17 years.
She says the penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole is a significant punishment and would allow this case to proceed more quickly, avoiding years of long and costly appeals.
On Tuesday a Santa Maria grand jury issued indictments for the eleven suspects connected to the murder of Anthony Ibarra.
"We firmly believe justice delayed is justice denied," said Dudley. "We want to move this case through, at the same time we want to make sure all defendants are adequately defended."
The youngest of those charged, Ramon Maldonado, Jr., is the grandson of David Maldonado and son of Ramon Maldonado, Sr., both also charged in the case.
The DA decided to charge the 14-year old as an adult based on the details of the investigation.
"There was certainly a connection here, many of the suspects and the victim have been involved with drug trades in the past," said Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin.
According to the original investigation, Ibarra's death involved the dealing of street drugs.
Since the murder, police have built their case using surveillance and connecting defendants to the incident based on cell phone records.
"This was a particularly brutal and heinous homicide, that didn't occur in a moment's notice, it was planned, it was drawn out, and there was torture involved," said Martin.
According to Martin, detectives spent more than 500 hours on the case within the first two weeks.
Seven defendants face the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Two defendants including the 14-year old face 25 years to life.
And two more face a maximum of 7 years and ten years.
All eleven suspects return to court for their arraignment on June 6.
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