Murder suspect’s brother scheduled to make 1st court appearance in Macon

MACON, Ga. (WJBF) – The brother of the man accused of killing Augusta University Nursing Student, Laken Riley, is scheduled to make his first court appearance.

Diego Ibarra, 29, of Venezuela, is charged by criminal complaint with possession of a fraudulent document. Ibarra’s initial appearance is scheduled for March 4th in Macon, Georgia.

If convicted, Ibarra faces a maximum of ten years in prison.

Diego Ibarra is the brother of Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, of Venezuela, who is facing state charges for Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault, False Imprisonment, Kidnapping, Hindering a 911 Call and Concealing the Death of Another in the death of Laken Hope Riley.

Diego Ibarra
Diego Ibarra
Jose Ibarra
Jose Ibarra

According to the criminal complaint and sworn affidavit, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was made aware of Ibarra’s undocumented presence in the United States on February 23rd.

An Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD) officer approached Diego Ibarra because he matched the description of a suspect in the homicide investigation. He presented the officer with a U.S. permanent resident card (also called a green card) as identification. The card was determined to be fraudulent. Diego Ibarra is a citizen of Venezuela and was processed for expedited removal but claimed a credible fear of return to Venezuela. He was consequently released from immigration custody pending adjudication of his claim for asylum on April 30, 2023.

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According to the criminal complaint and sworn affidavit, since entering the country, Ibarra has been arrested three times by Athens law enforcement: on or about Sept. 25, 2023, Ibarra was arrested by ACCPD for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license; on or about Oct. 27, 2023, Ibarra was arrested by ACCPD for theft by shoplifting; and on or about Dec. 8, 2023, Ibarra was arrested by ACCPD for failure to appear for a fingerprintable offense.

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with critical assistance from FBI, GBI, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, University of Georgia Police Department and Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.

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