An admitted MS-13 gang member said he's as good as dead for snitching in court Thursday. That testimony was part of tense moments in a Richmond murder trial of Luis Osvaldo Ramirez-Cabello. He is facing three charges including first degree murder and gang participation for a 2011 killing near Pony Pasture.
There were some angry exchanges, glaring looks and frustration inside the courtroom. Witnesses spent the day recalling the July 2011 death of Osbin Hernandez Gonzales, who was found with multiple gunshot wounds on a path near the river.
Thursday, we learned more about the culture of MS-13, which is reportedly creating a veil of fear over this case and those participating in it. NBC12 has been asked not to reveal the identities of witnesses because of potential danger.
In fact, one of the main witnesses, who has pleaded guilty in the killing said, "What I'm doing now, when they find out, they're going to kill my family and me." "They" refers to the local MS-13 gang clique SLSW. That witness told jurors the leader of the local group said if he and Ramirez-Cabello wanted in the gang, they needed to kill Hernandez-Gonzales, who was supposedly a friend of rival gang The Latin Kings.
He then described what happened that night in July and who fired the fatal shots.
Another fellow gang member testified if Ramirez-Cabello, who was 15-years-old at the time, and the other witness hadn't followed orders, they would have been killed.
Defense attorneys continually tried to discredit the Commonwealth's witnesses. They maintain they are only testifying to get shorter sentences in their plea agreements in this murder and federal charges.
Late Thursday afternoon, defense attorneys began to put on evidence. We do not know yet if Ramirez-Cabello, who gang members call "Destroyer," will testify on his own behalf.
The trial was scheduled to finish Thursday, but because of the many motions, back and forth among attorneys and transport of prisoners, who are witnesses, it will move into a third and possibly fourth day.
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