Guilty verdict in Richmond gang-related murder trial

Published: Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:01 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2013 at 10:01 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A verdict has been reached in a Richmond gang-related murder trial.

After a three-day trial, a jury found Luis Osvaldo Ramirez-Cabello guilty of first degree murder, gang participation, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in the 2011 killing of Osbin Hernandez-Gonzales near Pony Pasture.

One prosecutor told jurors he knew they had a tough job, but felt it was made easier because they heard from the people who admit they committed this murder with Ramirez-Cabello.

The Commonwealth's questioning of fellow MS-13 gang members, who say they were there on the July night when Hernandez-Gonzales was shot to death on a path near the river, was the crux of its case.

NBC12 has been asked not to use the names of those witnesses who testified because of potential danger associated with gang vengeance. Gang members explained the order to kill was used as Ramirez-Cabello's and another witness' way into the gang.

Gang experts testified in order to become full-fledged MS-13 members and "earn the letters" people have to "do two murders" or violent acts.

But defense attorneys offered an alibi witness, who said Ramirez-Cabello wasn't at the river that night but playing video games at a home.

Those lawyers claim the prosecution witnesses, most of whom has already pled guilty in this case, have something to gain by testifying--shorter sentences in this murder and federal charges.

They also pointed out inconsistencies in their stories.

"If they're all telling the truth, they all gotta tell the same story," Stacey Davenport said.

Prosecutors maintain their witnesses have in fact put themselves in danger and now fear for their lives after snitching on MS-13 in court.

That fear has hung over this trial. In closing arguments, the Commonwealth asked the jury not to stand for that.

"We speak as the community of Richmond, Virginia," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ann Baskervill. "This isn't El Salvador. We don't do this here."

Ramirez-Cabello is set to be sentenced March 25. Because he's a juvenile, the jury did not have to make a sentence recommendation.

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