Hans Almgren leaves a sidebar with Judge Brian Hill and the defendants' attorneys on July 6, 2010 with a mistrial looming on three of the five counts.

Paul Wellman

Hans Almgren leaves a sidebar with Judge Brian Hill and the defendants' attorneys on July 6, 2010 with a mistrial looming on three of the five counts.

Murder Case Ends in Mistrial

Jurors ‘Hopelessly Deadlocked’ on Multiple Counts

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
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A mistrial was declared in the murder trial of four defendants accused of stabbing to death 16-year-old Lorenzo Carachure in July 2007. The jury couldn’t come to a unanimous conclusion on the murder charge, or two attempted murder charges, against Ruben Mize, Ricardo Nava, Bryan Medinilla, and Raul Diaz.

The jury, however, did find all four guilty of being active participants in a criminal street gang. That charge carries a maximum of three years in prison.

Ruben Mize
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

Ruben Mize

Mize was found guilty of attempted murder for a separate incident from January 2008 — an incident he admitted to being involved in on a recording device. Because two enhancements to the charge — a gang enhancement and the allegation that the act was premeditated and deliberate — were found to be true, he faces 15 years to life in prison, meaning the earliest he would be eligible for parole is after 15 years.

And Mize, 18, faces plenty more trouble down the way. He is facing charges for an alleged assault which occurred in Juvenile Hall, an attempted murder charge for yet another stabbing in 2007, and a charge of jumping in a fellow gang member.

The 19-year-old Nava, meanwhile, is already serving a 19-year sentence after pleading to an attempted murder charge with a gang enhancement for a stabbing in June 2007.

The jury informed Judge Brian Hill — sitting in for Judge Clifford Anderson who had overseen the trial — Tuesday that they were hopelessly deadlocked, 11-1, on the murder charge, not indicating which way the majority was leaning. All but one of the jurors indicated that further instructions on the difference between first and second degree murder could be helpful. They crafted a question later that day, which Hill answered, but determined they still would not be able to come to a unanimous decision. The split was 9-3 on the two attempted murder charges, but the jurors decided they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”

They considered the testimony of several witnesses, many of them Eastsiders or former Eastsiders, including Mize’s older brother Robert Martinez, who said Mize or Medinilla told him they thought they killed someone. Martinez also confessed to driving them to Goleta to get rid of their weapons. A wire worn by a cousin of Mize captured Mize admitting to being involved in the stabbing, and the cousin testified he also heard Medinilla cite his involvement. Several other witnesses are in custody facing charges in this or other cases, and are testifying as part of plea deals in their own cases, a fact defense attorneys latched onto, calling the witnesses unreliable.

Prior to the jurors being called in Tuesday, Hill asked prosecutor Hans Almgren if he would want to dismiss more serious charges so the jury could consider lesser ones, but Almgren indicated he would rather seek a mistrial.

So now the process starts over. Almgren said he didn’t know yet whether he would re-try the four. The four will be back in court on August 13 where the defense attorneys will discuss with Almgren how to proceed.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Better luck next time!
And if we cannot convict them of this crime I am sure there will be many more to follow.

goat (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2010 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So onward we go with the endless cycle of gang culture.

These thugs are not born defective, (such as serial killers are) they learn it from society and for all of the great technological progress we've made our culture still creates these people who beat, rob, and kill other people simply for being different.

Let's keep building more prisons/juvenile halls and pass more restrictive guns laws: after all, we wouldn't dare address the root causes would we?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2010 at 5:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe shoulda kept Josh Lynn on board awhile longer.

EZK (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2010 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This was a shocking development.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2010 at 11:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't forget, Dudley can still rehabilitate him over crab cakes and Perrier at Lucky's.

Lars (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2010 at 11:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Has the Independent finely sorted out the gang allegations that apply to only those 16 years and older? Specifically, since Mize and Medinilla were 15 at the time of the alleged homicide, is the reporter for the Independent sophisticated enough to parse the differential application of the separate gang allegations? Hopefully the reporter will at least address the 15 versus 16 year-old differences, so that the reading public is properly informed, next time. If so, what role has the prosecution played in obfuscating the fine-line distinctions, if any?

If there are, indeed, such obfuscations, what role did they play in the inability of the jury to come to a unanimous verdict?.

It may be telling that DDA Almgren told the jury at the outset that he didn't know what the witnesses would establish. Is this the competent, informed and able prosecutor we deserve? Call the witnesses, not knowing what they will say, and see what happens?

It seems that what happened is what will happen whenever the prosecutor is lazy, ill-informed and unmotivated enough to connect the dots.

Anybody, somebody, please address the 15 year-old vs 16 year-old gang enhancement issue with hard facts and the trial record!!!

If anyone disagrees with the characterization of Almgren's opening statement: effectively, "I don't know what the witnesses will say", please provide a certified transcript of his opening statement that gainsays it.

It doesn't take a forensic accountant to understand that the cost of a retrial of four defendants, including the cost of four court-appointed private defense attorneys, their investigators, the forensic experts, the court personnel, and another year or so will amount to many hundreds of thousands of dollars, at a minimum.

Might these $$$$$$$$ have been avoided if the DA knew what the witnesses would say, if he professionally judged the strengths of the various charges against the separate defendants, including accounting for their ages, before he decided not to offer a reasonable plea bargain?

Mr. Meagher, please look into these and other considerations, as the DA contemplates whether and how to spend another million of taxpayer dollars on another game of blind man's buff.

Michael Ganschow

zwoirle (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2010 at 1:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill - serial killers are not born to kill. There are many small reasons why serial killers turn out the way they do but don't blame it on them being born to kill.

Muggy (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2010 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think heritibility can be removed as explanation of Anti-social Personality disorders, a trait prevalent in serial killers, "Muggy,"


binky (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2010 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Muggy: the gang problem is clearly environmental. From what I have seen, serial killers often come from backgrounds without the factors that contribute to criminal behavior. I'm sticking to my point until proven otherwise.

Examine the commonality of the gang lifestyle and how kids are sucked into it at a very early age by older siblings. Serial killing is not environmental from what I can see.

My point is that in contrast to serial killing, the true tragedy of the gang lifestyle (how many lives have been ruined in this one case alone?) is that it's so predictable and for all the hand-wringing by various people, the problem goes on and on and just seems to get worse. There is a term in Spanish that describes this phenomena: "la cadena perpetua" or "the endless cycle" (literally, the perpetual chain.)

So again, here are lives destroyed all around, and if our society would wake up once and for all and stop thinking that either A: we need more gang injunctions, or B: we need to spend more $$$ on after-school programs to solve this problem which is blowing up in our faces, we could actually solve the problem but of course, political correctness and authoritarianism assures that this will not likely occur.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2010 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

well said bill
the judge should hold these jury folks until they understand
then convict these scum bags and their family members
scumbag pos cockroaches
our forefathers are rollin in their graves

americancowboy (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2010 at 11:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Ganschow:

Regarding "not knowing what the witnesses" would say on the stand: This is common for a prosecutor to say and is a common ocurrance. I was the foreman on a Josh Lynn trial several years ago and he said the exact same thing (and got a 3rd strike conviction). This does not speak to DDA Almgren's ability merely what he is faced with. Trials of this type rely upon hostile and non-cooperative witnesses, such as fellow gang members, family and close friends.

cj138 (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2010 at 12:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So sad that our home grown terrorists throw their lives away for so little. The attitudes of the international terrorists and these home grown varieties is rather, and blandly, the same. Domination.

Behind every savior is a tyrant, in every bully a coward, and within every control freak an abused and trembling child.

Bird (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2010 at 2:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This Fiesta, there should be a Booth specifically to promote Latin Gang Association and Active Latin Gang Participation. Santa Bruta is home to an actively promoted Gang culture by the Latin Community. After the Failed attempt to prosecute self-defined Latin Gang members for crimes that can't be found guilty for nor punishable by the Courts, then the embracing of these Gang cultures are the next best thing. This could be a TAXable organization to balance the budget for at least Santa Bruta, if not for the whole State of California.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2010 at 1:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

dou4now- We already embrace the gang culture. We embrace it through prisons, courts, probation, and law enforcment. Do you think that is all free? What Bill says is true, we must address the root causes or we will continue to carry the burden of "embracing" this gang culture.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2010 at 11:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In Singapore, he would already be swinging.

andrewbaker77 (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2010 at 9:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

An oppressive, (basically) one Party, unicameral system of authoritarianism is a poor example for the US on many levels, andrewbaker77.

And their Internal Security Act is something I see our government moving toward, in the grand War on Terror.

binky (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2010 at 10:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Honduras is a good example of where we are heading if we don't address the root causes. Brutality will only make these gangs more brutal and organized. Right now we are dealing with knucklehead kids in their teens, later we will be dealing with grown hardened men with more sophisticated plans and agendas. No matter which way we decide to spend our money (prisons or education) it is still money we will have to spend. I would rather it was invested into persons who will contribute back to society, instead of someone that society will always have to maintain. The actual percentage of this kids that are true sociopaths is truly miniscule compared to the amount that can be rehabilitated.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2010 at 12:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nothing is more oppressive in society than gangs. America, gangs everywhere, all fueled by the drug trade. In S'pore, zero gangs, because there are nearly zero drugs. Death to traffickers works. And for the addicts, instead of jail where they become worse, required rehab.

PS: "An oppressive, (basically) one Party, unicameral system of authoritarianism is a poor example for the US..." It is the US. Dems and Repubs are the same Party, the Party for corporate greed.

andrewbaker77 (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2010 at 9:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

-TO the message that "Americancoboy" made.

I don’t know from what generation you are from and what education you have received in your life. But let me fill you in some information, first of all WE ARE ALL IMIGRATS You racist douchebag. The comment you made In 2010 about ("well said bill
the judge should hold these jury folks until they understand
then convict these scum bags and their family members
scumbag pos cockroaches
our forefathers are rollin in their graves")
Was not necessary. I am the older sibling of Bryan Medinilla who got unjustly accused of what may happened back in 2007 when he was just 15 years of age. My mother from her stress, crying and thinking were she went wrong got cancer. She currently has 2 jobs working 65+ hours a week, my father 70 + hours a week and both PAY THEIR TAXES! They are hard working honest individuals with no prior criminal records. I will be attending my senior year at Cal Poly university next quarter and will be pursuing a PHD in physical therapy soon after. So I ask that for the future you re-hold your feeling and think about the harm you can cause with your ignorant words. You made my mother cry today when she saw this blog. As...le!!

Rodney (anonymous profile)
April 7, 2013 at 9:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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