The brother-in-law of Edwin Ramos, an alleged MS-13 gang member accused of a triple killing in San Francisco in 2008, testified today that Ramos changed cliques in the gang because he felt his old clique was not violent enough.
Abraham Martinez, 22, continued his testimony today in the trial of Ramos, 25, who is charged with fatally shooting a father and his two sons in San Francisco’s Excelsior District.
Prosecutors allege Ramos, an El Sobrante resident, shot Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, near Congdon and Maynard streets on June 22, 2008, after mistaking them for rival gang members.
Ramos’ defense attorney Marla Zamora has admitted her client was a gang member but said he left the gang in 2006.
Martinez, whose sister is married to Ramos although the couple is now separated, testified today that rather than leaving the MS-13 gang, Ramos just moved to another clique within the gang.
Ramos was initially part of the 20th Street clique but “jumped in” to another clique, the Pasadena Locos Surenos, or PLS, Martinez said.
“He said 20th Street wasn’t doing anything,” Martinez said, adding that he took that to mean “we aren’t doing any dirt.”
He said Ramos told him “he felt more at home over there.”
Martinez, who was a member of the 20th Street clique, said he told Ramos, “I respect your decision … you go your way and I’ll go mine.”
Martinez began testifying Thursday after prosecutors granted him immunity and dismissed charges against him in connection with a Mission District stabbing on June 19, 2008 — three days before the Bologna killings.
The charges were dismissed because Martinez was indicted in 2009 on federal charges of conspiracy to racketeer for MS-13 and illegal possession and use of a firearm. He pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, and has testified against other MS-13 members in two separate federal trials.
During her cross-examination of the witness this afternoon, Zamora focused on Martinez’s own criminal history.
He acknowledged being incarcerated six separate times between 2004 and his arrest in July 2008 for the Mission District stabbing, and also admitted shooting into a crowd at a house party in San Francisco in 2007.
Zamora last week had questioned the prosecution’s use of a witness with such a checkered past and called Martinez a “rat.”
Martinez said earlier today that he decided to testify against Ramos and in the federal MS-13 trial because he “felt betrayed” by the gang, particularly after learning that his uncle Jaime Martinez was an informant working with the government.
He said he left the gang after also deciding to cooperate with investigators, and apologized for his prior crimes.
“I feel for the families that I hurt,” he said. “It’s senseless violence.”
Zamora’s cross-examination of Martinez will resume Tuesday morning in a trial that is expected to last months.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News