Trial of suspected killer can include gang allegations

The trial of an illegal immigrant suspected of killing a father and two sons in the Excelsior neighborhood can feature gang allegations despite a lack of previous gang-related convictions, a judge ruled Friday.

Edwin Ramos, 22, is charged with three counts of murder in the June 22, 2008, killing of Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, as they returned home after a family picnic. Ramos also faces special allegations related to his suspected involvement in the Mara Salvatrucha gang, commonly known as MS-13.

Several law enforcement witnesses took the stand in June and described arrests in Ramos’ past, such as on Oct. 22, 2003, when he allegedly took part in the beating of a young teenage Muni passenger in the Mission district.
 
The victim, a boy, told police that Ramos, then 17, and two men rushed onto the bus and beat him after asking, “Who are you down with?” The boy told police he was not affiliated with a gang.

But prosecutors never charged Ramos in cases where he was suspected of a violent crime. Also, under The City’s former policy of shielding illegal immigrant youths from federal authorities, he escaped the scrutiny of federal immigration officials as a juvenile.

Ramos’ attorney, Marla Zamora, argued that the District Attorney’s Office shouldn’t be able to use incidents that occurred when Ramos was a minor as evidence that he had a history of gang activity.

“My client has no adult record and no sustained petitions against him,” she said.

Prosecutor Harry Dorfman said that killing of the Bologna family alone was enough to establish gang-related conduct.

Superior Court Judge Jerome Benson ruled that there was enough evidence, direct and circumstantial, that could be used to argue Ramos’ affiliation with MS-13. A date for the trial could be set later this month.
 

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