In a plea agreement, Catalan recently plead guilty in downtown LA's Superior Court to involuntary manslaughter in the Ibarra case and will receive 12 years in prison for it. He will be eligible for parole in 10 years.
That sentence may seem light, but as Karen Ocamb reported in her LBGT POV blog post on the case.
LAPD Lt. Wes Burhmester explained while noting that he could not speak for the prosecutor in the case, the reason for the plea instead of pursuing a murder charge was because the District Attorney must look at being able to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – to a jury of 12 people that Catalan deserved to be convicted of murder. However, since Catalan had apparently been injured during a struggle with Ibarra, that Ibarra and Catalan knew each other and she was not killed during the course of a felony (like robbery), it would have very hard to prove.
Unfortunately, sometimes that's the way it goes on some of these cases. You've got to have the evidence to convince a jury and make the charge stick.
It's probably not a satisfying conclusion for the Ibarra family and all who loved Paulina, but in this instance the person who committed the crime is at least getting some jail time instead of walking the strees as a free man.