Witness testifies shooting victim was not intended target
May 24, 2011 at 5:24 a.m.
WHO'S WHO?DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Trevino is represented by James R. Beeler.
Lamas is represented by Alex Luna.
PROSECUTOR: Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler
PRESIDING JUDGE: District Judge Stephen Williams
Day 2 of the trial is scheduled to end at noon Wednesday. The trial will resume on Thursday.
A shooting victim's death was just collateral damage, a witness testified during the first day of the murder trial of John Anthony Trevino, a.k.a. "Chuke", and Gilbert Lamas, a.k.a. "Kilo G."
Trevino, 33, and Lamas, 32, both of Victoria, are charged with murder and engaging in organized criminal activity in connection with the June 2002 shooting death of 22-year-old Victoria resident Timothy "Tim" Hunt.
On June 8, 2002, Hunt was shot while standing outside his family's residence at 212 Ekstrum Street.
Jurors heard testimony from co-defendant Oscar Ramirez, who admitted to being the driver of the getaway car the night Hunt was shot.
Previously, Ramirez plea bargained cases for manufacture of a controlled substance and engaging in organized criminal activity in exchange for testifying in the case against HPL members involved in the murder of 6-year-old Robert "Polo" Conchola.
He will be granted immunity in the Hunt case in exchange for his truthful testimony.
Ramirez, who attended Stroman High School with Hunt, testified that Hunt's cousin Fred Valdez was the real target the night of the shooting.
Valdez, an HPL member, had supposedly been "X'd out" of the HPL, meaning he had been blacklisted and OK'd to be killed, for testifying against fellow HPL member Joe G. Villarreal in another case and refusing to take a drug rap for another HPL member, said Ramirez.
"It was common knowledge that people were trying to get him," he said.
The night of June 8 was the third unsuccessful attempt to kill Valdez.
Earlier that day, Ramirez said he received a call on a disposable cellular phone from Lamas informing him that Valdez had been seen outside his house.
Ramirez then proceeded to round up Trevino as well as Ramiro "Eddie" Salas, 28, and Jeff Roach, all of whom were HPL members.
The group was issued weapons, including a rifle and a shotgun, from Lamas, who served as the encargado or "person in charge" of the Victoria HPL at that time.
The men did an initial pass-by of Valdez's house in a maroon GMC pickup, which belonged to Ramirez's parents, before returning to Ramirez's parents' house and switching the pickup with Ramirez's sister's blue Chevrolet Lumina.
Afterward, the men returned to Valdez's house.
Although they did not get a visual confirmation of Valdez amidst the group of people on the lawn, shots were fired into the crowd from the back of the vehicle where Trevino and Salas were sitting.
When asked by Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler whether Ramirez gave two hoots whether Valdez got shot or if somebody else got shot at the house where Valdez was staying, Ramirez replied, "I really can't say."
The co-defendant went on to say that if they had not partook in the shooting that night, the men would be in danger of being "X'd" out of the gang themselves.
Although the men did not get their target, Ramirez said the shooting catapulted him and Trevino from their positions as prospectos (prospect) with the HPL to the next rank of carnal (friend or member).
After the shooting, the men cleared the shell casings from the Lumina and parked the car behind a shed near another HPL member's trailer.
Within the next few days, Lamas replaced one of the Lumina's windows that had been shattered during the shooting and all of the men cleaned and detailed the car.
Ramirez said the men learned from watching the news that someone other than Valdez had been shot.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.