Santa Barbara- S County

Guilty Verdicts, Mistrial in Lompoc Gang Kidnapping-Torture Trial

Jury deadlocks on kidnapping against allged ring-leader Raymond Macias

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A Santa Maria jury convicted a Lompoc gang leader and another gang member on charges that carry life in prison sentences in a high-profile kidnapping and torture trial.

But a mistrial was declared in the kidnapping charges against one of the two defendants.

The jury in the month-long trial of 34-year-old Raymond Macias and 22-year-old Luis Almanza came back Friday morning and told the judge they were deadlocked on some of the charges.

Both Raymond Macias and Luis Almanza are former members of a notorious Lompoc street gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia.

They were both charged with holding a fellow gang member against his will and torturing him over unpaid drug debts.

The jury handed down guilty verdicts for torture against Macias and kidnapping and torture against Almanza, both guilty verdicts carry life in prison with the possibility of parole.

But the judge declared a mistrial in the two kidnapping charges against Macias, one of which carries a life in prison sentence without parole.

Defense attorneys for Macias and Almanza told the jury many key witnesses for the prosecution were former gang members, some of whom received immunity for their testimony and lacked credibility.

The prosecuting Deputy D.A. told the jury the charges against Macias and Almanza fit the evidence they had to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case returns to Santa Maria Court next week to see if the D.A.'s Office will refile the kidnapping charges against Macias.

If not, sentencing for Macias and Almanza is expected later this summer.


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