SANTA MARIA, Calif. - 20-year-old Robert Sosa has pleaded guilty to kidnapping along with a gang enhancement for his role in the alleged torture and murder of Anthony Ibarra in Santa Maria over alleged gang-related drug debts in March of last year.
Ibarra's body was found in the back of a rented U-Haul parked in an Orcutt neighborhood.
"At the conclusion when he is sentenced he will receive 15 years in state prison", says prosecuting deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen, "which means he will have to do 85 percent of the 15 years before he is released."
Sosa's plea deal brings to seven the number of defendants in the Ibarra murder case after four defendants have now accepted plea deals.
All of the remaning seven Ibarra defendants face murder charges as well as some gang enhancements.
Its unclear how many, if not all, of the four defendants to accept a plea will be called as witnesses for the trial that's set to begin in November.
"That will depend on a lot of different things", Bramsen says, "whether they have appellate rights still or not, its an individual, case by case basis, while you are still pending sentencing, you have what's called a 5th Amendment right to silence because you have not completed your case, so anybody awaiting sentencing could invoked their right to remain silent in any case."
Robert Sosa will be sentenced in December for his kidnapping conviction.
Jury selection for the remaining seven defendants in the Ibarra murder trial is expected to begin in November.