Elsewhere: Ramos case witness betrayed by tattoo SFGate

An East Bay man accused of lying on the witness stand in a notorious San Francisco triple-murder case was sentenced today to three years probation after pleading guilty to three felony counts of perjury.

Marvin Medina, 23, of Richmond, admitted Dec. 1 that he lied during the preliminary court hearing of Edwin Ramos in June.

Ramos, 23, of El Sobrante, is accused of the June 22, 2008, shooting murders of Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, in San Francisco’s Excelsior District. Ramos is alleged to be a member of the MS-13 street gang.

Ramos, known as “Popeye,” has admitted he was at the scene of the shootings, but denied he fired the gun or is a gang member. He said a second man, known as “Flaco,” was the shooter. Police haven’t been able to locate Flaco.

Medina was called to testify at the hearing because prosecutors believe that a shooting earlier the same day in which Medina was wounded precipitated the attacks on the Bologna family. Police have said the family was mistaken for rival gang members and was killed in an act of retaliation.

On the stand, Medina repeatedly denied that he was an MS-13 member and that he knew Ramos.

“No, to tell the truth, I’ve never seen him,” Medina testified through a Spanish translator June 23. Asked how his phone number ended up on Ramos’ cell phone, he answered, “I don’t really know.”

When prosecutors moved to have him examined for a prominent “MS” tattoo emblazoned on his back, he finally admitted he had been a member, but said he no longer was with the gang.

Asked if he had intentionally lied about having the 8-inch tattoo on his back, Medina answered, “Well it’s not like I was lying-lying.”

“I’m out of that now,” he said of his alleged gang ties.

Medina was arrested after the hearing and has been in custody ever since. He was originally charged with 19 counts of perjury and two counts of being an accessory to murder after the fact, as well as gang allegations.

On Dec. 1, Medina pleaded guilty to three of the perjury counts related to testifying that he didn’t know Flaco, that he had only met Ramos once before the preliminary hearing, and that he was alone when he was shot earlier that day on Cesar Chavez Street in the Mission District.

Medina today received credit for the time he had served in jail until his plea.

According to prosecutor Harry Dorfman, the plea included a declaration that Medina is a material witness in the Ramos case until later this year. A trial date has not been set, and Dorfman said he is also requesting Medina be given a conditional exam to obtain his testimony before the trial.

Dorfman said Medina is still being held on a $1 million bail as a material witness, and a judge will consider the bail issue Friday.

Dorfman said today he worries Medina, a foreign national, may be a flight risk.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!