VALPARAISO | Just a few weeks after it was announced he is now competent to stand trial, a 24-year-old Valparaiso man pleaded guilty Wednesday to the 2009 shooting death of his mother's fiance.
Edward Ibarra struck a deal with prosecutors to reduce his original murder charge to voluntary manslaughter.
The plea calls for a 50-year sentence with 10 years suspended and to be served on formal probation.
Ibarra, who appeared in court along with Public Defender Peter Boyles, confirmed for Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa he is competent to face the charge and understood his decision to plead guilty.
The charge of voluntary manslaughter calls for a killing done in "sudden heat," according to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost.
Ibarra told the court Wednesday he had an altercation with his mother's boyfriend, 33-year-old Juan Garcia, on Oct. 30, 2009 at their home at 308 Morgan Blvd. in Valparaiso.
Ibarra said he left the house with his girlfriend and returned later that night, at which time he was struck by Garcia. Ibarra said he pulled out a 9 mm handgun and as Garcia attempted to flee, he shot Garcia multiple times.
Alexa entered the guilty plea, ordered a pre-sentence report and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Nov. 16.
Ibarra could wind up serving half or less of the 40-year prison term with good behavior and participation in various prison programs. He will receive credit for the time he has served since his arrest in the case.
Ibarra initially was found incompetent to stand trial in March 2010 and was committed to the state mental hospital in Logansport for treatment and further evaluation.
The hospital claimed to have restored him to competency. Yet after being returned to a county jail, he was again found incompetent to stand trial in 2011.
Ibarra recently was returned to the Porter County Jail after mental health professionals determined he is now competent to stand trial.