A burning desire for closure in murders of three Bologna family members may land an innocent man in prison, the defense said Wednesday during closing arguments.
Marla Zamora, who represents accused killer Edwin Ramos, said the evidence in the case cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged MS-13 gang member pulled the trigger that killed the three family members.
The Bolognas had been driving home from a family picnic June 22, 2008, and were mistaken for rival gang members. Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, were shot dead on a street in the Excelsior district. The only witness to the triple-slaying was a surviving son, Andrew, who was 18 at the time.
On the first day of closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutor Harry Dorfman said Ramos had an “evidence problem” and couldn’t be believed because he had lied to investigators.
Zamora on Wednesday said that in the hope of bringing closure to the Bologna family, investigators have thrown the book at Ramos and made little attempt to find the real killer, who she believes is alleged MS-13 gang member Wilfredo “Flaco” Reyes.
“My biggest fear in this trial is you’re going to base your verdict on emotion,” the defense attorney told the jury.
Ramos has said he was driving his Chrysler 300 when Reyes, who remains at large, leaned over him from the front passenger’s seat and opened fire on the Bolognas’ car. He said he had no idea Reyes planned to kill that day, and didn’t come forward to police because Reyes had threatened his family.
The surviving Bologna son testified that he saw Ramos give his father a mean look before brandishing a gun and opening fire. Zamora said the son did see the gun, but amid the chaos couldn’t tell that it was Reyes, not Ramos, holding the gun. The defense attorney told the jury the way Andrew Bologna described holding the gun — left hand, palm down — is similar to the way Reyes held a gun during a previous crime.
“This is a perfect example of a rush to judgment,” she said.
Prosecutor Harry Dorfman also delivered his rebuttal Wednesday.
“When someone, like Edwin Ramos, lies over and over about what matters,” he said, “it means he is aware of his guilt.”
Regardless of who pulled the trigger, “two people can be equally guilty of murder,” Dorfman said.
The jury is now deliberating.