Edwin Ramos’ sob story is just another one of his tall tales, lawyers say.
The prosecution Tuesday grilled the alleged MS-13 gang member, accusing him of lying to investigators and the jury, the day after he professed his innocence in the killing of a father and two of his sons in the Excelsior district June 22, 2008.
The 25-year-old El Sobrante resident is charged with fatally shooting Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, as the family was driving home from a picnic. Another son was in the vehicle, but survived.
Prosecutors believe the killings were in retaliation for the shooting of an MS-13 member earlier that day in the Mission district.
On Monday, Ramos took the stand to testify on his own behalf. He has said he was driving his Chrysler 300 at the time of the killings and that another alleged gang member, Wilfredo “Flaco” Reyes, who remains at large, leaned over him from the front passenger’s seat and opened fire on the Bolognas’ vehicle.
Ramos testified Monday that he was leaving gang life at the time of the killings. At the time, Ramos said, he was dealing cocaine to support his family, but not to benefit a gang.
On Tuesday, prosecutor Harry Dorfman began challenging that testimony by getting Ramos to admit to lying to homicide detectives after his arrest. He also noted inconsistencies in the story the jury heard Monday and the one he told police.
Ramos initially claimed he was at home at the time of the incident. He later changed his story to say he was driving and that Reyes pulled the trigger.
Dorfman pointed out that Andrew Bologna, who survived the shooting, testified in the trial that Ramos was alone in the Chrysler.
Ramos said he initially lied to police in large part to protect his family from Reyes, who warned him not to talk to authorities about the shooting.
“He said, ‘If they get to you, you know what we can do to your family,’” Ramos said.
Dorfman also presented evidence suggesting Ramos might still have had strong gang ties, noting the numerous contact numbers stored on his cellphone belonging to known gang members.
Dorfman is expected to continue his cross-examination of Ramos this morning.
The killings brought national attention to San Francisco’s sanctuary-city policy, which shielded undocumented juveniles suspected of crimes from being reported to federal immigration agents.
Ramos had numerous contacts with police in connection with violent incidents as a juvenile, but was not reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The City changed its policy after the homicides.
Danielle Bologna, wife and mother of the victims, sued The City over the policy, but a judge later dismissed the lawsuit.
The Ramos trial has lasted for more than three months, starting with jury selection in early January. The trial is being held in a courtroom outfitted with a metal detector and bulletproof glass.
Bay City News contributed to this report.