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Sebastopol teen convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2018 stabbing

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A jury rejected murder charges against a 19-year-old Sebastopol man Thursday but convicted him of voluntary manslaughter for stabbing another teen during a 2018 argument over a video game.

Anthony Ibach faces up to 12 years in prison when he is sentenced July 24 by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Chris Honigsberg.

Cory Alan Vaughn, 19, was stabbed to death during a fight with Ibach in the parking lot of a downtown Sebastopol restaurant shortly before noon April 21, 2018 — just after the end of the Apple Blossom Parade, which draws thousands to the area each year.

During the nine-day trial, jurors were presented with opposing narratives about the fight.

Prosecutors said Ibach was set on confronting Vaughn to settle a dispute that grew out of arguments over a PlayStation game. Ibach drove to the parking lot near an apartment where Vaughn and others were partying and sent video messages to people inside, causing them to come outside.

Defense attorney Joe Bisbiglia said Ibach had hoped for a fair fight but found himself outnumbered and surrounded. He told the jurors Ibach took legal actions to defend himself and urged them to acquit Ibach or consider a lesser crime than murder, such as voluntary manslaughter.

The 12-member jury, which began deliberating May 30, acquitted Ibach of second-degree murder but found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The jury also found it true that Ibach personally used a deadly weapon, an enhancement that could potential add a extra year to his sentence, Bisbiglia said.

“I definitely understand the verdict and support the jurors’ verdict. They worked very hard on this case. We still believe it was truly self-defense, but we’re supportive of their verdict,” Bisbiglia said.

Ibach heaved a sigh of relief when the court clerk read the verdict.

“He’s definitely relieved,” Bisbiglia said of Ibach. “He’s a young guy, he’s only 19 years old, and he’s faced these charges with complete emotional maturity.”

Vaughn’s family, who were visibly upset after the verdict was read Thursday, declined to comment. Deputy District Attorney Chris Brown also declined comment, although he did tell Judge Honigsberg “the sooner the better” when selecting a sentencing date.

Vaughn was a 2016 graduate of Analy High School who played football.

He was the eldest child of Alan and Sharon Vaughn of Sebastopol and is survived by two sisters.

“These cases are very sad. There’s never truly any winners, but I am very grateful for the fact that (Ibach) was not convicted of second degree,” Bisbiglia said. “It gives him a chance at having a life.”

You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or susan.minichiello@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @susanmini.

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