Santa Barbara prosecutors on Friday formally announced charges against four adults and one juvenile for the fatal June 1 stabbing of 29-year-old Alberto Torres.
Angel Barajas, 31; Igor Ortiz, 20; and Adelain Ibarra, 20, were all charged with murder. Barajas and Ortiz were charged with doing the actual stabbing. Alondra Ochoa, 18, was charged with accessory to murder. All four received enhanced charges for their alleged involvement in a criminal street gang.
Prosecutors said the group, reportedly members of the city’s Westside gang, had gathered the evening of May 31 with plans to spraypaint Westside graffiti in Eastside territory. They also talked about finding and attacking an Eastside gang member.
As they drove through the Eastside, they tagged fences and homes before they spotted Torres walking in the 1300 block of Cacique Street. Barajas and Ortiz reportedly got out of the car, ran him down, and stabbed him to death. Authorities said Torres, an alleged affiliate of the Eastside gang who went by the nickname “Lil’ Rascal,” was stabbed at least nine times so severely that he was nearly eviscerated.
Either Barajas or Ortiz ran back to the car with Torres’s hat, and the group sped back to the Westside, where they disposed of physical evidence at one or more locations, prosecutors said.
All four defendants were scheduled to be arraigned Friday but the hearing was postponed until next week. The juvenile defendant will be tried in juvenile court unless attorneys decide to prosecute him or her as an adult.
Court records show Ortiz has been convicted of multiple felonies since 2018, including for assault, robbery, and evading police. He was on parole at the time of his arrest. Barajas has previous convictions for drug possession and carrying and selling knives.
“This investigation remains ongoing and additional charges may be filed in the coming weeks,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a press statement. “No further comment will be made at this time.”