The Santa Barbara County Superior Court found 20-year- old Benjamin Vargas guilty of voluntary manslaughter last Tuesday for the fatal stabbing of Vincent Velasquez.
Vargas stabbed Velasquez 16 times on May 15, 2011, during an altercation on Abrego Road in Isla Vista. The jury began deciding the verdict on Friday and settled on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter rath- er than second-degree murder.
Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney Hans Almgren said the prosecution will pursue the maximum sen- tence possible.
“Last week he was found guilty of voluntary manslaugh- ter,” Almgren said. “That car- ries a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison. I am going to ask for 11 years.”
According to the May 16, 2011 press release, the incident started as a verbal argument between Vargas and Velasquez and turned into a physical fight, resulting in Vargas stabbing Velasquez repeatedly.
Almgren said Judge George Eskin will determine the final sentence after considering input from several sources.
“In the meantime, he is talk- ing with the probation depart- ment regarding a sentencing report that goes to the judge,” Almgren said. “Once that is completed and I get my input and the defense attorney gets his input, then we’ll proceed to sentencing.”
Vargas will be sentenced at 10 a.m. on June 18.