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Security High for 10 Murder Suspects

Suspects charged in the slaying of a man in Santa Maria appeared in court Thursday.

Carmen Cardenas pleaded no contest to accessory to murder after the crime was committed and a judge sentenced her to more than three years in state prison.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen told NewsChannel 3 if there is a trial, Cardenas is not expected to testify.

Thursday’s proceedings were held in a different courtroom than previous times. The case was moved across town to the juvenile court right next to the sheriff’s substation.

The 10 defendants left in the case appeared in the new location under heavy security. More than 15 sheriff’s department personnel were at the court house. The case was moved to this location because it is much larger than the court house on Cook Street.

Bramsen said, “The Sheriff’s Department did an outstanding job making sure that security was high, making sure that the facility was very safe for everybody. I don’t think that it could have been done any better. So I felt like it was very secure and very safe, all the lawyers had a table to sit at. I think everybody could be heard well in that courtroom.”

The defendants in this case are being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail with the exception of Ramon Maldonado Jr. Because he is a juvenile, he is being held at juvenile hall.

The arraignment it was continued to Oct. 18 where defendants are expected to enter a plea.

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