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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Murder Charge for Wilfredo Reyes Would Contradict Key Testimony Against Edwin Ramos

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge Wilfredo Reyes
  • Wilfredo Reyes

Wilfredo Reyes likely faces murder charges for the 2008 triple homicide of Tony Bologna and two of his sons.

"[Reyes] is a co-conspirator, aider and abetter, and equally guilty for the senseless crimes committed against the Bologna family," Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian told SF Weekly soon after Reyes was arrested in North Carolina last week.

Charging Reyes, though, puts District Attorney George Gascón in a strange position.

The DA's most important witness in the trial that led to Edwin Ramos' conviction for the murders was Andrew Bologna, Tony's now-21-year-old son and the sole survivor of the shooting. Bologna was the only person to finger Ramos as the shooter. He testified that he saw Ramos, in the driver's seat of a passing car, holding the gun. He twice stated that he didn't see anybody else in the car.

That means, if Gascón chooses to charge Reyes as a co-conspirator in the murder -- thereby putting Reyes in the passenger's seat of Ramos' car -- he will have to contradict the testimony of the only person to identify Ramos as the shooter.

Ramos' defense team tried to convince the jury that Bologna's testimony was unreliable: He was in the backseat of a car that was being shot up; bullets and glass were flying everywhere; his brothers and father were dying. Between the trauma and the chaos inside that car, Ramos' defense argued, it couldn't have been easy for Bologna to notice exactly how many people were in Ramos' car and exactly who was the shooter.

Bologna's testimony was critical to the prosecution's case because authorities never found the murder weapon. Throughout the trial, Ramos, 25, accused Reyes, 31, of pulling the trigger from the passenger's seat. Reyes, who fled the state soon after the June 2008 murder, was never questioned by police.

At least three other witnesses testified that two or three people were in Ramos' car. If Gascón pursues charges against Reyes, the prosecution will be agreeing that multiple people were in the car. And, in turn, the prosecution will be conceding the defense's point that Bologna's eyewitness testimony should be considered murky.

Last month, Ramos was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Reyes will soon be extradited to California.

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