Valpo man accused of killing mother’s boyfriend pleads to vol manslaughter
By James D. Wolf jr. Post-Tribune correspondent October 24, 2012 3:58PM
Updated: November 26, 2012 7:16AM
VALPARAISO — Three years after a Valparaiso man shot and killed his mother’s boyfriend, he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Wednesday’s plea — down from a murder charge — was rushed through for Edward Ibarra, 24, who was scheduled to have an evidence hearing, a few weeks before his Nov. 11 trial date.
Under the plea agreement, Porter Superior Court Judge William Alexa would sentence Ibarra to 40 years in prison and 10 years on probation on Nov. 16 if Alexa accepts the agreement.
“The offer was only available to Mr. Ibarra before the summary judgment,” defense attorney Peter Boyles said.
Boyles says the plea fits what really happened in October 2009.
Ibarra shot and killed Juan Garcia, 33, of Illinois, after Garcia had struck him. Garcia tried to get away after Ibarra pulled a 9 mm pistol, and some of the multiple shots hit Garcia in his back.
“The only difference between voluntary manslaughter and murder is the existence of sudden heat,” chief deputy prosecutor Matthew Frost said.
Both are a killing done knowingly and intentionally.
Boyles noted that Garcia had high levels of cocaine in his system and that his history of substance abuse and violent behavior created a high level of fear for Ibarra.
Therapists twice judged Ibarra unable to participate in his own defense and understand the legal proceedings, Boyles said.
Each time, Alexa committed Ibarra to the Indiana Department of Mental Health institution in Logansport until Ibarra was restored to mental competency, the first time in March 2010.
Boyles said in court in January 2010 that Ibarra had a history of mental illness. He said he believes Ibarra will continue to get the medicine and help he needs while in prison, and if it isn’t working, he could return to Logansport until staff there can restore his mental health.