Murder Trial Begins

Suspected Gang Members Accused of Beating Store Clerk to Death

A group of young men associated with the Eastside gang beat George Ied to death with their hands and feet, catching him as he walked home from work on Punta Gorda Street early in the morning of October 12, 2010, a prosecutor told a Santa Barbara jury Wednesday morning. Michael Cardenas, Ismael Parra, and Miguel Parra are on trial in Ied’s murder. A fourth, Steven Santana, took a plea deal for voluntary manslaughter and will testify in the case, prosecutor Hans Almgren said.

Deputy Public Defender Michael Hanley, who is representing Ismael Parra, pinned most of the blame on Cardenas. “Cardenas approached Mr. Ied, and a conversation started,” Hanley told the jury. “The conversation turned into an argument, and the argument turned into a fight. That fight turned into a vicious attack.”

Adam Pearlman, attorney for Cardenas, said the prosecution will be forced to rely on a “pathological liar” ​— ​Santana ​— ​in order to prove the case. “Steven Santana has lied since the moment this case began,” he said, claiming Santana told authorities what they wanted to hear. He also noted no blood was found on Cardenas’s clothes, as opposed to both Parra brothers, who had blood on their clothing when they were taken into custody the night of the attack.

The murder sent shock waves through Santa Barbara. It was the second alleged gang-related killing ​— ​in a six-month span ​— ​of a victim with no known gang ties. Not long after Ied’s death, the city laid out its plans for a gang injunction.

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