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Ibarra murder case could be costly

Ten people are accused in the brutal death of a man in Santa Maria. It’s now becoming clear this case will be time consuming and it will cost a lot of money.

Taxpayers foot the bill on these cases but how much will they be paying this time?

As many as seven of those charged in this case could face the death penalty if the district attorney decides to file charges that way.

If that happens, the cost of this case goes only one direction, up. “Anytime you have a major case, whether it’s a murder or a death penalty case, there are a lot of expenses that are involved,” said Santa Barbara county executive officer Gary Blair.

“We have a situation here where there’s 10 people, we have the public defender who is representing one defendant and the conflict contract attorneys representing up to four,” said Blair. “And you have potentially five others that would tap into additional cost that the county would then be required by statute to pay for.”

The north county criminal defense team is under a contract worth $860,000 a year. That covers up to five people accused in a non-death penalty case or four people accused in a death penalty case.

“Once we use up all of those attorneys, then we have to go outside the contract and pay at an hourly rate. Our rate is $125 an hour for a death penalty matter and $100 an hour for a case non-death penalty,” said Blair.

Anthony Ibarra’s body was found in a U-haul truck on a quiet neighborhood street. Cops ended up arresting 10 people. But we won’t know how many lawyers they will need until the D.A. decides what type of case this will be.

All 10 of those accused in this case are back in court on June 6. By then we should know how many, if any will be facing the death penalty.

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