Contra Costa prosecutor Monday asked jurors to convict a West County gang member of first-degree murder in the death of a 15-year-old San Pablo boy gunned down last year because he was wearing a rival's color.
The case against Ramon Alejandre Jr., 31, hinges on testimony by two junior gang members who were in a truck with the defendant when they saw De Anza High School freshman Ivan Santos walking home on 11th Street on Feb. 2, 2007, after buying a soda at a neighborhood store.
Believing Santos' red pajama pants signified he was in a rival gang, Alejandre got out of the truck and walked toward the boy, firing a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun, deputy district attorney Aron DeFerrari said. Santos, whose parents told the Times last year was not a gang member, was hit nine times and died on the sidewalk.The two other people in the truck, Roberto Garcia, Alejandre's 22-year-old nephew, and Juan Vargas, 19, pleaded no contest to being accessories after the fact and were sentenced to one year behind bars. They both testified at Alejandre's trial that they heard shots before Alejandre returned to the truck.In his closing statements at Alejandre's trial, defense attorney Paul Feuerwerker said Garcia and Vargas have a motive to blame Alejandre but there is no evidence outside their testimony that Alejandre was the gunman.
"I think if you use your common sense I think you'll see that Mr. Garcia and Mr. Vargas lied," said Feuerwerker, pointing to inconsistencies in the witnesses' stories about what happened before and after the shooting.
"The fact that Mr. Alejandre is a gang member is irrelevant to the question of whether he is responsible for this crime," Feuerwerker said.
DeFerrari said Garcia and Vargas have put their lives at risk by testifying against Alejandre, whom he described as a "hard-core, veteran Sureno." Their account of what happened is corroborated by the position of the shell casings found at the shooting scene, and police found a gun later determined to be the murder weapon under Alejandro's seat when officers pulled the truck over later that night.
"The defendant walked down the sidewalk and shot (Santos) over and over and over again," DeFerrari said. "Then he stood above him and shot him some more."
After closing statements, the jury began deliberating late Monday and will resume today in the courtroom of Judge John Kennedy.