A Ventura teen-ager who pleaded guilty to an assault charge stemming from the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old Lompoc boy in August was sentenced to five years in state prison, officials said Tuesday.
Benjamin Huerta, 18, will be interviewed by officials at the California Youth Authority to determine his eligibility for incarceration at that facility, said Rory Moore, a Santa Barbara County deputy public defender. If not accepted at CYA, Huerta will serve his sentence at a state prison, Moore said.
Five youths were arrested during Santa Barbara's Fiesta Days celebration in August after what authorities called a gang-related stabbing that left 16-year-old Robert Mitchum dead from a knife wound. Investigators determined that Huerta did not actually stab the boy.
"I was disappointed that Benny wasn't granted probation," Moore said. "I think he is a young man who certainly would have performed well on probation.
"I think state prison is an option that ought to be reserved for people who cannot be effectively handled through the probation process."
Two other Ventura boys were sentenced in December to the CYA for their role in the killing. The two remaining defendants, Gregory Dominguez, 19, and Ricardo Cervantes, 20, both of Ventura, will stand trial on murder charges May 26 in Santa Barbara Superior Court.