Witnesses testify in slaying case

first_imgWHITTIER – At a preliminary hearing Tuesday, a teen witness testified that he and a friend yelled “We don’t bang!” moments before shots were fired into their car, killing a Whittier man. Martin Marquez and Ruben Jauregui Alcala, both 20 and of Pico Rivera are each facing charges of murder in the shooting death of Jason Verde, 20. Four teenage witnesses testified Tuesday, each giving accounts of the Aug. 20, 2005, shooting. But their accounts were inconsistent with earlier statements they gave to homicide detectives, according to defense attorneys. The witnesses did agree about some of the details of the incident. But they wavered when asked to identify the suspects. According to prosecutors, Marquez shot Verde following a dispute at a party between their rival party crews. The dispute began when someone inhaled a rival party crew’s nitrous oxide balloon for a high, officials said. At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Daniel P. Ramirez asked that the full names of the teenage witnesses not be published, out of concern for their safety. One witness, William, said he inhaled from the balloon, which touched off a fight with a rival group. After the fight began, he and several friends, including Verde, left the party, William said. The group went to a friend’s house on Lemoran Avenue in Pico Rivera later that night. While they were inside Verde’s Honda Civic outside the home, a Chevy Tahoe cornered the Civic on a one-way street, William testified. The Tahoe then drove toward Verde’s car, forcing him to back up as there wasn’t enough room to go around the Tahoe, William said. “The passenger \ just ran out with the gun. He shot through the front windshield,” William said. Another teen, Kim, who was in the back seat of the Honda, testified that he saw Marquez shoot Verde. “I was behind Jay \ in the car when he got shot. His seat went back on me and I felt glass on my face. He was on me. I had his blood on me,” Kim testified. Kim also said he saw Alcala inside the Tahoe holding a gun as the vehicle drove away. The other witnesses, however, said they did not recognize the gunman or the Tahoe’s driver, even though they had identified Alcala and Marquez to detectives in the week after the slaying. Alcala’s defense attorney Kenneth Kahn asked Ramirez to dismiss the case due to lack of evidence. “We have credibility issues here,” he said. Ramirez disagreed. He ordered both men to appear for arraignment Feb. 14. He set bail at $4 million each. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more