An alleged MS-13 gang member accused of being the second of two men who murdered a father and a pair of sons in San Francisco four years ago made an initial appearance in Superior Court today.
Wilfredo “Flaco” Reyes, 31, formerly of San Francisco, was arrested in North Carolina on July 9 on suspicion of murdering Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, on June 22, 2008.
Reyes was transferred to San Francisco on Thursday and brought before Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng today for an initial appearance.
Feng scheduled Reyes’ arraignment on murder charges for Tuesday and ordered him held on $5 million bail.
After Reyes, wearing orange jail clothing, said he couldn’t afford a lawyer, Feng ordered Public Defender Jeff Adachi to provide an attorney from his office.
The Bolognas were fatally shot at an intersection in the Excelsior District of San Francisco as they were driving home from a family picnic.
Prosecutors contend that Reyes and alleged MS-13 member Edwin Ramos, 25, of El Sobrante, mistook the Bolognas for members of a rival gang and killed them in revenge for the shooting of an MS-13 member a few hours earlier.
Ramos was convicted in San Francisco Superior Court in May of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced last month to three consecutive terms of life in prison without possibility of parole.
A third Bologna son, Andrew, now 22, survived the shooting and testified against Ramos.
District Attorney George Gascon said outside of court today that he will file formal charges against Reyes at the time of the arraignment Tuesday.
The charges will include three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of aiding and abetting a shooting into an occupied vehicle, one count of participating in a street gang and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, he said.
“That killing was the premeditated, cold-blooded murder of three family members.
“Today we can celebrate that Mr. Reyes has been brought to justice,” Gascon said.
Gascon alleged the perpetrators were “two gang members bent on revenge.”
“They went out basically hunting,” he said.
Andrew Bologna testified at Ramos’s trial that Ramos was the person who shot his father and brothers and said he did not see anyone else in the car from which the shots were fired.
Ramos, testifying in his own defense, admitted he was the driver of the car but said Reyes was a passenger and was the shooter.
The jury deadlocked on a charge that Ramos fired the fatal shots.
Gascon said today, “While we believe Mr. Ramos was the one that pulled the trigger, the jury hung on that charge.”
He said prosecutors will not charge Reyes with firing the gun, but rather with aiding and abetting the shooting.
Prosecutors, who did not seek a death penalty for Ramos, will not seek one for Reyes either, Gascon said.
Anthony Bologna’s widow, Danielle Bologna, attended the hearing and said afterward, “This is a very, very emotional day for me.
“I kept thinking of my husband and my sons. I’m very glad that they got him,” she said in brief comments to reporters.
“It just hurt” to look at Reyes in court she said.
Bologna said she plans to attend Reyes’ future trial, just as she attended most of Ramos’s trial.
“This is my family. I’m fighting for them. I’m fighting for justice,” she said.
Bologna, her son Andrew and a younger daughter are now living in a witness protection program.
“I think we can live a little lighter knowing that the second person was caught,” she said, “but we’re still in hiding.”
Adachi said after the hearing that a defense lawyer from his office will be assigned by Tuesday.
He said, “It’s going to be a complicated case.”
“This is a different case. This is a different individual who is being tried,” Adachi noted.
Reyes’ only words in court were to answer “no” when Feng asked him whether he could afford a lawyer and “yes” when asked whether he was willing to be represented by Adachi’s office and to postpone his arraignment until Tuesday.
Until the formal charges are filed, Reyes is being held on an arrest warrant on suspicion of the murders.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News