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DA to seek life without parole for Laken Riley’s killer

Jose Antonio Ibarra

By Joe Johnson

The district attorney in the Laken Riley murder case will seek life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for defendant Jose Antonio Ibarra.

Western Judicial Circuit DA Deborah Gonzalez filed a notice of intent to seek that penalty on Friday, the same day that Ibarra was in court to be arraigned on a 10-count indictment that was previously filed in connection with Riley’s murder on Feb. 22, 2023.

The 22-year-old student was beaten with a rock during a sexual assault in a recreational area on the University of Georgia campus.

At his arraignment in Clarke County Superior Court, Ibarra pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts of the indictment that included charges of malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault with intent to commit rape, aggravated battery, interference with a 911 emergency call, and tampering with evidence.

Murder, rape and kidnapping are all punishable by death in Georgia. Capital punishment has not been sought in the Western Judicial Circuit since 2015, when Jamie Hood was tried for the murder of an Athens-Clarke County police officer.

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