Parking attendant testifies in the trial of Aubrey Berry, accused killer of rapper Roderick “Dolla” Burton

By Alex A. Alonso
STREETGANGS.COM STAFF WRITER

May 6, 2010, posted at 11:55 p.m.
updated: May 10, 2010 posted at 11:19 p.m.
updated: May 13, 2010 posted at 3:36 a.m.

– Correction: Opening statements were on Tuesday May 4th, not on Wednesday.
– Deputy District Attorney Halim Dhanidina’s name is misspelled in the article below.

Audrey Berry talking to his attorney Howard Price, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif – The trial in People v. Aubrey Berry resumed on Thursday in downtown Los Angeles in its third day since opening statements. Berry, 24, is accused of kil#i*gg, Roderick Burton, 21, on May 18, 2009 outside the P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. He is also charged with two counts of blankault with a deadly weapon and facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Burton, who is know by his stage name, Dolla, was a rapper signed to Akon’s music label and was visiting Los Angeles from Atlanta to work on his first studio album.

According to Prosecutors Robert (Bobby) Grace and Halim Dahanidina, Berry ki*led Burton without any provocation, firing his gun eight times and hitting him four times kil#i*gg Burton. Defense attorney, Howard Price, said in opening statements Wednesday that Berry shot Burton in self defense and that Berry was in the Bistro at the same time Burton was, and that he left first to avoid conflict with Burton. There was already tension between the two men because just a few days earlier Berry and Burton got into an altercation in an Atlanta strip club that resulted in a fight.

Both Atlanta men coincidently crossed paths at the Bistro, which dispels all rumors that Berry had followed and stalked Burton to Los Angeles to ki*l him. Defense attorney Price told Streetgangs.com that “it was a complete coincidence that the two guys were at the Beverly Center [at the same time].”

Parking attendant testifies
The prosecution called witness Jose Molina, a parking valet supervisor employed with Ampco System Parking who witnessed the entire shooting. Molina testified out of order to the objection of defense attorney Price on the grounds that he was not aware that Molina would be testifying and that he was not prepared to cross examine Molina. Judge David Wesley initially asked prosecutor Dahanidina why did he not inform the defense during the morning that he intended to call witness Molina, and he responded that Molina was already on the witness list and that he was scheduled to testify on Thursday and he just wanted to call him earlier out of order because he knew that Molina was leaving the country for a few days. Judge Wesley allowed Molina to testify out of order.

Rapper Dolla

During direct examination, Molina told the jury that he arrived at work at 3:00 pm, and was working behind the valet desk. Shortly before the shooting, he stated two cars arrived in the Beverly Center parking lot in the rotunda where he approached to give the patrons valet tickets while at the same time defendant, Audrey Berry walked towards the valet desk pblanking him. Molina noticed that Berry had dropped his valet ticket and that he was about to retrieve the ticket for Berry, but someone else had already done so. Molina then stated that Berry approached the valet desk where two other persons were already in line as he approached the desk to service the line which now had three people, with Berry as the third.

Molina then testified that he noticed a group of three men and one woman walking from the Bistro north towards the valet desk. Prosecutor Dahanidina asked Molina if he heard any words being exchanged or if an argument ensued between Berry and any of the persons in the group and Molina replied that there was not an argument but words were exchanged. This is an important point because the defense will argue that the shooting was done so in self-defense after Berry left the restaurant and was followed out by Roderick Burton and his friends which would suggest that words were exchanged and exactly what those words were are important but thus far Molina was not able to provide any testimony as to what was said. Moments later, according to Molina, Berry moved out of the line, and walked towards the east side of the valet desk. During direct examination it was a bit unclear how Berry moved to and from each position but this was clarified during cross examination.

Molina testified that after he was done with the two customers at the valet desk, he began to walk towards the key room to his left (south direction) and as he was walking out from behind the valet desk, Berry walked towards him behind the valet desk about two steps from the south side of the desk pblanking each other by. Molina said at that point Berry pulled a gun from his waist, chambered a round then turned towards his left and began shooting in a westerly direction. Although Molina told prosecutor Dahanidina he did not remember what words were being exchanged between Berry and someone in the group of four people approaching the valet desk, he did precisely recall that Berry said, “Oh, it’s like that!” before he began shooting, which suggests that there had to be an exchange of words, because that quote sounds like a response to something else being said, but Molina did not recall what was said.

Molina’s testimony gets a bit confusing when he stated that Berry first discharged two or three shots in a westerly direction that was away from the direction of Burton’s group. No explanation of why and what he was firing at was given. Then within seconds, Molina testified that Berry took a couple steps forward, turned to his left in the Bistro’s direction towards the group of four and fired a second volley of bullets, then turned the gun back in the original direction and shot a third volley of bullets. Berry then turned towards the valet desk and said, “get me my f#@$king car,” according to Molina while his gun was still drawn pointing down.

The prosecution showed a screen capture of surveillance footage shot inside the garage of the Beverly center of a grainy photo a what appeared to be a black male holding a gun in his right hand pointing down with a screen burn of 3:11pm, the time of the shooting.

Molina then testified that he asked Berry for his ticket when he asked for his car and Berry replied that he did not have it, so then he asked what kind of car do you have, and Berry replied that it was a Mercedes. Initially, Molina could not find his keys, but after Berry told him it was a rental car, Molina was able to identify the correct keys. He then put the keys in the car, and told Berry from a distance that his keys were in the car. For his safety, Molina did not want to take the car to him.

Berry then retrieved his car, and at the same time Molina noticed one victim was down along the striped yellow painted lines (direction of the second volley of bullets according to Molina), with another person holding his head and upper body up. As Berry drove around to exit the garage, Molina noticed that the person holding the victim, quickly put him down and took cover behind one of the white pillars in fear of getting shot.

Cross examination of Molina
During cross examination, attorney Price quickly asked Molina if he was fluent in English and whether he needed an interpreter. Molina is a native of El Salvador and speaks English with a distinct Spanish accent, but Price wanted to clear up any concerns that contradictions in his testimony was the result of a language barrier. Molina stated he did not need an interpreter and Price pointed out that last year he provided a statement to the police written in English.

Price attempted to provide a clearer version of the scene and order of events. During direct examination some of Molina’s story was unclear, but Price took Molina through each moment from the time he serviced the two cars that pulled up to when the shooting was over.

Price asked Molina if the DA or the police ever showed him surveillance footage from that day, and he reluctantly answered yes, initially avoiding the answer. We also learned that there is another camera situated in the area where Molina saw Berry that would show all the events unfold that was not part of the footage the prosecution thus far has not shown. Molina’s testimony began to break down when he stated that although he saw Berry shot three volleys of bullets in two separate directions, he was never able to explain who Berry was shooting at and where the group of four people were now located. He also stated that he didn’t’ see if Berry’s bullets ever hit anyone. Price told streetgangs.com that he found it unusual that “Molina doesn’t see anything that [Berry] is shooting at.”

During direct we also learned that there was a white couple sitting at the bench on the opposite side of the valet desk during the entire shooting. When asked how long the couple there was, Molina did not know. When asked about bullet casings that his supervisor picked up, he didn’t know where on the ground he dropped them, and he didn’t know how many he returned to the ground, but he was certain that Berry dropped his parking ticket even though he didn’t see it up close. When asked, “how do you know that what Berry dropped was a parking ticket,” he replied “I just know.”

During direct examination Molina told prosecutor Dahanidina, that Berry said he didn’t have his parking ticket, but when Price asked him the same exact question during cross, he said he didn’t remember what Berry said about his ticket and that he only recalled Berry saying, “get my f#@$king car.” Price pressed Molina on that question further telling Molina, “didn’t you testify earlier that Berry told you that he did not have his ticket?” and then Molina reluctantly admitted that Berry “probably” said that he didn’t have a ticket.

Molina did not know where the group of four people where when the shooting began even though he had testified during direct that he saw the four walking towards the valet desk just seconds prior. When asked by Price if the four people got closer to him, he did not know. He further stated that he never saw the four people again after his first initial viewing of them walking towards the valet desk.

Price asked Molina about the 2-page statement that he gave to police last year and asked him if he ever told the police that Berry said, “So it’s like that” prior to the shooting and if he gave the same account of the three sets of shootings committed by Berry, and surprisingly he replied no to both questions.

Recap

1. Based on today’s testimony, Berry was the first one to leave the Bistro to get his car, and Burton’s group followed. We do not know if Burton’s group followed Berry out of the restaurant or if they happen to be leaving right at the same time when Berry decided to leave.

2. We do know that Berry was in line at the valet desk waiting for his car when he noticed Burton and his group walking out of the restaurant. This suggests that some time had pblanked, perhaps two to five minutes pblanked between Berry leaving the Bistro and walking to the valet line and when Burton’s group came out. When Berry saw the group he moved from his position in line where he was waiting and reacted by going behind the valet desk to pull out a gun. It seems that Berry pulling out his weapon was a reaction to something, but we just don’t know. According to the prosecution Berry committed a cold calculated shooting that was not provoked by any argument.

3. We do know that there was an exchange of words between someone in the group and Berry prior to the shooting. We do not know if the exchange of words was a heated argument or a more calm exchange, but Molina has testified there were words but does not know, remember or recall what was exchanged, so we will probably never know what was said. I don’t anticipate that anyone in the group with Berry will admit to any aggressive exchange between them and Berry and the only way to know exactly what was said would come from one of the patrons that witnessed the shooting or to look at the surveillance tape that was pointing in this area.

4. We did learn that there is a surveillance camera that would show what if any confrontation occurred between Berry and Burton or his group in the area prior to the shooting occurred. Thus far we don’t know if that video has been entered as evidence by the prosecution.

5. We are not clear why according to Molina, Berry would be shooting in two different directions in three separate shootings that were in rapid succession. What was Berry shooting at during the first and third volley, and where is the video that will show the shooting? Molina never testified to what Berry was shooting at.

6. Why didn’t Molina tell the LAPD that Berry said, “So it’s like that” prior to the shooting? If Berry did in fact say these words, this would be critical information that a witness would provide to the police during questioning, but he never provided this information at that time.

Cross examination of Molina will resume on Friday morning on a scheduled half day.

Posted by on May 6 2010. Filed under Features, People of CA v. Aubrey Berry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

29 Comments for “Parking attendant testifies in the trial of Aubrey Berry, accused killer of rapper Roderick “Dolla” Burton”

  1. Atlanta

    man thats f#@$ked up dolla was gone make it im telln you he was young and talented this is f#@$ked up RIP DOLLA

  2. CheefGordon

    SELF DEFENSE…talent has nothing to do with nothing in this case.

  3. Scrap (dolla's brother)

    I must admit Aubrey was scared when we approached him, RIP to my brother but Aubrey was defending himself, I cant let this go on any further, Dolla was gonna ki*l that man, I tried to tell him to chill out but he needed to get strips in the gang world… u know how it is. Let that man go free. the gang entertainment has brought me nothing but bad news, i want out.

  4. poops

    shut up liar.

  5. west la prankster cowards

    f#@$k mansfield prankster ..y’all getting muted by rappers..dollor in sh*% ..on r60

  6. this is more trash in our race all this street level a black man is your enemy bullsh*% im ashame 2 be an african american

  7. the gravedigger

    Cuz that ant scrap..if it is than what color shoes did u have on the day dolla got ki*led..?

    • Chris Manhattan

      Here is my question. What is exactly was Mr. Berry doing in LA? What was his business there? Do he frequently visit LA? Was this his first time in LA. Why was he there? Dolla’s lawyer should have hammered Berry as to why he was in LA and link that to the fight they got in weeks earlier in ATL.

  8. nina

    if aubrey said it is like that then he ki*led a person in cold blood common sense dolla was not gonna ki*l that man if dolla was gonna ki*l aubrey then were is his gun . someone is lying and i think it is aubrey were in the world was dolla gun .

  9. nina

    people are lying aubrey is lying the best witness is this man from el salvordor and they broke him down aubrey is an ki*ler dolla was a fighter but aubrey is an ki*ler .

  10. COOL

    AUBREY ki*lED DOLLA WITH A GUN THAT WAS NOT REGISTERED IN CALI ONLY IN GEORGIA AUBREY WAS SUPPOSE TO USE THE GUN NOT IN CALI SO HE SHOULD BE IN JAIL AND DOLLAS MOTHER SHOULD TAKE HIM BACK TO COURT

  11. COOL

    AMERICAN JUSTICE IS SOMETIMES THE DEVILS JUSTICE THER IS ONLY ONE TRUTH JUSTICE GOD JUSTICE IN JESUS NAME . plan and very simple

  12. nina

    the bible says thou shall not ki*l it does not say you can ki*l if you think you are being threatened HOW DO YOU READ SOMEONES MIND ANYHOW AUBREY BERRY TOOK MATTERS INTO HIS OWN HANDS AND ki*lED DOLLA BECAUSE IF THIS WAS SELF DEFENCE HE WOULD OF SHOT HIM LIKE HE DID IN THE BICEPT AND MAYBE THE LEGS AUBREY MAKES NO SENSE

  13. nina

    the bible says thou shall noT ki*l IT DOES NOT SAY YOU CAN ki*l IF YOU THINK SONEONE ELSE HAS A GUN . THE LAWS ARE WRONG PEOPLE MINDS ARE MESSED UP AUBREY BERRY IS CRAZY PLAN AND SIMPLE

  14. keila

    Dont deleon spell his name wit two p’s like “srapp”..im just saying & we all know he would never say nothing like that about his brother..they were too close..& dude how was he going to ki*l him without a weapon..but anyways R.I.P Dolla

  15. Redarmy

    Ohhhh robin van persieeeeeer

  16. of10h8d

    Jus because they didnt find a weapon doesnt mean he didnt have one at the time.it couldve been discard by 1 of the people with him.unless surveillance tapes can prove otherwise.and if really wasnt strapped but indicated in some of way he had heat and was ready blast just for show was stupidity on his part. #servedwithahotone

  17. Ms.king (Dollas Mom)

    I love big lollipops in my blank.

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