Jury Still Deciding Fate of Murder Case Defendants

Reaches Verdicts for Charges Against Ismael Parra and Michael Cardenas, Deadlocked on Miguel Parra Charges

After five days of deliberation, a Santa Barbara jury has reached a verdict for two of the three defendants facing murder charges in the beating death of George Ied.

Jury members told Judge Brian Hill Thursday afternoon they were deadlocked on a murder charge against Miguel Parra, but had reached a verdict on charges against Ismael Parra and Michael Cardenas, though what they decided is not yet known.

For all three defendants, the jury has a number of options to choose from — guilty of first or second degree murder, guilty of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or not guilty.

Ied was punched and kicked to death as he walked home from work early in the morning on Santa Barbara’s Eastside in October 2010. Testimony pointed to Cardenas throwing the first punch, and all three men being involved to varying degrees. A fourth, Steven Santana, took a plea deal in exchange for his testimony.

Without saying which way the jury was leaning, the jury foreperson told Hill the group was either 11-1 or 10-2 on a decision on the murder charge against Miguel Parra. Earlier, he had told the judge, “For one defendant, I do feel that we are deadlocked as a jury.”

The jury foreperson — representing the seven women and five men on the panel — said the group had reached a verdict on all three charges against Cardenas: murder with a gang enhancement, battery, and active participation in a criminal street gang.

As to Ismael Parra, said the foreperson after hesitating, the group had reached a determination on the murder charge, though they were split on a gang enhancement for that charge. He said they had reached a verdict on a separate participation in a criminal street gang charge, as well as a battery charge.

The jury was also hung on a gang participation charge against Miguel Parra, with the jury foreperson saying the group was at 6-6, 8-4, or “somewhere in there.” Because several people in the jury said more time could lead to an agreement for that count, the jury will return Friday morning at 9 a.m. Their deliberations will likely come to a conclusion later in the day.

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