The women who helped raise accused triple murderer Edwin Ramos testified today about his life leading up to the 2008 killings in San Francisco’s Excelsior District.
Ramos, 25, is charged with fatally shooting Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, near Maynard and Congdon streets on the afternoon of June 22, 2008.
Prosecutors allege that Ramos was a member of the MS-13 gang and shot the Bolognas after mistaking them for rival gang members, and that the shooting was in retaliation for the shooting of another alleged MS-13 gang member earlier that day.
Defense attorney Marla Zamora has said another gang member, Wilfredo “Flaco” Reyes, was the shooter in a car that Ramos was driving, and that while Ramos was once a member of MS-13, he left the gang years ago. Reyes remains at large.
After the prosecution rested its case last week, Zamora this morning brought in her first witness to testify–Ramos’ grandmother who raised him as a young boy in El Salvador.
Maria Marta Ramos said her grandson lived with her in a rural part of El Salvador until he was 13 and joined his family in the U.S.
Speaking via a translator, she said Edwin Ramos was busy with school and household chores in El Salvador and was not a member of a gang then.
“Where I live, that sort of thing didn’t exist,” she said.
The grandmother also said when she came to visit her family in the U.S. in the ensuing years, she did not notice any difference in her grandson.
“He was always very loving,” she said.
Edwin Ramos began crying as his grandmother finished her testimony, wiping away tears with tissues.
Maria Angela Ramos, Edwin’s aunt, also testified this morning, saying that she lived with him for most of his teenage years after he moved to San Francisco.
She said Ramos only lived with his mother for a few months after arriving in the city.
“They didn’t really have good communication,” she said. “She wasn’t really good with him.”
She said Ramos spent some time in juvenile hall, but said she was unaware of any gang activity he might have been involved in.
Zamora this morning also brought in two other family members–Ramos’ aunt and stepmother-in-law–who said they both saw him earlier on the day of the triple killing and did not notice anything odd about his mood or behavior.
She also brought in a man, Mario Landucci, who said that he saw two people in the suspect vehicle, a Chrysler 300, as it drove away from the scene of the shooting.
Zamora said outside of court that she has not yet decided whether to have Ramos himself testify in the trial, which has lasted nearly three months so far.
District Attorney George Gascon said today that more than 100 people were brought in to testify on behalf of the prosecution.
“This is a very complex case,” Gascon said.
“This is a case that destroyed a family,” he said, adding that “I feel very comfortable with the work we’ve done.”
Among the witnesses called by Assistant District Attorney Harry Dorfman was Andrew Bologna, the lone survivor of the shooting who testified that he was in the car with his father and two brothers when they were shot, and that he did not see anyone else in the Chrysler.
Testimony was scheduled to continue in the trial later this afternoon with an official from San Francisco’s Youth Justice Center who worked with Ramos when he was in juvenile hall.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News