Ricardo Juarez, Ruben Mize, and Ivan Romero, each pled not guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from a February gang-related assault on 15-year-old Daniel Cervantes in the Santa Maria Juvenile Hall.
At the time of the assault, two of the defendants, 16-year-old Juarez and 17-year-old Mize, as well as the victim, Cervantes, were all in Juvenile Hall facing murder charges. Juarez is now serving a 17-year sentence after being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter late last year. Mize is currently headed to trial to face charges in connection with the July 2006 Westside murder of 16-year-old Lorenzo Carachure as well as for charges of conspiracy to commit murder in attacking two people who were with Carachure. Cervantes, who suffered a head hematoma from the assault, along with two others, is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the July 4 stabbing death of 15-year-old Emmanuel Roldan. The 17-year-old Romero, at the time of the assault, was in Juvenile Hall facing juvenile charges.
Judge Clifford R. Anderson agreed to postpone the case until the resolution of Mize’s murder trial, expected in the coming months. Anderson also granted a request from Juarez’s lawyer, Daniel Murphy, that Juarez be housed at the Juvenile Justice Center instead of the Santa Maria Juvenile Center so that he can continue to serve his 17-year sentence. The three defendants will appear in court again on September 23 for a preliminary hearing.