Closing arguments in the Robert Ibarra murder trial finished Wednesday, highlighted by the defense trying to discredit the prosecution’s key witness. The jury is now deliberating.
Ibarra is accused of murdering Elias Silva at a friend’s Goleta apartment in October 2004. The friend, Robert Galindo, previously pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2005 for his involvement and Joshua Miracle is on death row after pleading guilty to the murder in 2005.
Ibarra is facing life without parole as the murder also includes the additional circumstance of lying in wait. Additionally, two special allegations are included, personally using a knife and committing the crime for the benefit, at the direction of or in association with the Eastside street gang.
Defense attorney William Duval asked the jury to think strongly about who has a reason to be untruthful during their testimony at the trial. Duval said Galindo’s testimony should be thought about very carefully as he has been “looking out for just Robert Galindo.”
Galindo, his brother Rodney, and Phillip Alliano all testified that they had not spoken about the case amongst each other, despite living together for years after the incident occurred. Duval submitted to the jury that this was hard to believe and in comparison, defense witness Letty Salas admitted she had spoken about the case to the Ibarra family, who she lived with for a little less than a year after the murder.
Duval added that Galindo had been providing a safe house for those involved in criminal behavior, including Miracle who arrived just prior to the murder.
Galindo had provided a home, food, drugs and even a hat to cover Miracle’s “ESG,” short for Eastside Gangster, tattoo on the back of his head, Duval continued. “Galindo was associating with all kinds of gangsters, one would almost think he enjoyed having them around,” he said.
Duval explained that Galindo had five months to decide what to say at Miracle’s grand jury trial in 2005 and shortly after his arrest, he was arrested for possession of meth.
“There are liars and there are damn liars. I submit to you that Robert Galindo is a damn liar,” Duval said to wrap up his arguments.
While the defense spent their time attacking the prosecution’s key witness, prosecutor Kimberly Smith argued the prosecution had met every requirement for a guilty conviction.
Smith presented each charge, with their legal definitions, and displayed the evidence that had been presented to fulfill them.
Smith said that Ibarra can be found guilty as an aider and abettor as, according to Galindo’s testimony, he and Miracle had discussions about cleaning the rats out of Santa Barbara. He also moved the furniture around in the apartment to clear the way for the attack, forced Galindo to call the victim over to the apartment, and pulled Silva in when he arrived.
In addition, Ibarra’s prints were found on a knife at the scene as well as his blood mixed in with Silva’s around the apartment.
With the lack of injuries to the hands or body of Ibarra and Miracle, as well as the alleged plan to have Galindo force him to come over, Smith submitted to the jury that the lying in wait circumstance should also be confirmed.
The 48 stab wounds located at Silva’s heart, jugular vein, stomach, back of head and face proved there was an intent to kill by Ibarra and Miracle, added Smith.
Smith also reiterated that Ibarra had allegedly warned a teenager that “something bad is going to happen here.”
In relation to the allegation of committing the crime in association with the Eastside gang, Smith said Ibarra doesn’t need to be proven to be a gang member, only that he assisted one in the crime.
Lastly, Smith added that Ibarra and Miracle’s attempt to flea to San Diego proves to be an admission of guilt by Ibarra.