Two months after a jury couldn’t reach a verdict in the murder case against Miguel Parra, charged in the 2010 beating death of George Ied, he now faces up to 21 years in state prison after entering a plea Tuesday morning. Parra pleaded to voluntary manslaughter with a gang enhancement, and a separate charge of being an active participant in a criminal street gang, said prosecutor Hans Almgren. The deal is the same one taken by Steven Santana, who agreed to it in exchange for his testimony against Parra and two others during the trial.
Parra’s older brother, Ismael, and Michael Cardenas were both found guilty of second degree murder, along with other charges and enhancements, and each face a minimum of 15 years to life in prison. Attorneys for Cardenas and Ismael Parra are expected to file motions for a new trial. If they do, those motions will be heard June 25. If the judge denies their motions — which are rarely granted — they will likely be sentenced that day, along with Miguel Parra and Santana.
Miguel Parra’s deal ensures he will not spend the rest of his life in prison, but leaves the amount of time he will spend behind bars up to Judge Brian Hill’s discretion.
After several weeks of trial, the jury spent five full days in March deliberating the fate of the three men. The jury found each of them not guilty of first degree murder, which requires premeditation and deliberation. The foreperson indicated the 12 were split 10-2 over a second degree murder charge against Miguel Parra, and couldn’t decide on voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
Ied was beaten to death as he walked home from work early one morning in October 2010. Testimony and evidence offered at trial pointed to Cardenas as the instigator and most culpable in the attack, but witness testimony — including that of Ismael Parra and Santana — put all four at the scene striking Ied to some extent.
Testimony and evidence regarding the behavior of Miguel Parra seemed to slip under the radar, compared to testimony offered regarding the actions of the other three defendants. Both Santana and Ismael Parra — in earlier statements to police and, to some extent, on the witness stand — minimized Miguel Parra’s involvement in the attack, though both admitted on the stand he was involved.
After being named in a federal indictment against Eastside gang members, Miguel Parra served 23 months in federal prison after pleading to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was released four months before Ied’s death. At the time of his sentencing in that case, his attorney told the court that the “angry young teenager who turned to the Eastside gang for identity and a sense of belonging is maturing into a thoughtful young man who embraces the need to plan for his future and build a life to be proud of—one that will not bring him back in front of this Court or any other court.”