Five Alleged Gang Members Charged with Murdering Witness in Harbor Gateway Killing

February 23, 2007
Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications
Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
Jane Robison, News Secretary
(213) 974-3525

LONG BEACH ? The District Attorney?s Office announced today that five men ? including one already charged with fatally shooting 14-year-old Cheryl Greene ? have been charged with murdering a man they believed was a witness in the girl?s killing.

The capital murder case against the alleged gang members was filed on Tuesday as a felony complaint for arrest warrant. The last of the defendants was arrested last night and most ? if not all ? are expected to be arraigned on Monday in Department K of Long Beach Superior Court.

The defendants are charged with murdering Christopher Ash, 25, an acquaintance, on Dec. 28. The victim?s body was found lying in the middle of a street in Carson. He had been stabbed numerous times and his throat was cut, authorities said.

One of the defendants already charged in the Greene murder ? 18-year-old Jonathan Fajardo (dob 4-7-1988) ? was charged in the new case along with Jose Covarrubias, 20 (dob 6-3-1986); Robert Gonzalez, 29 (dob 8-5-1977); Raul Silva, 31 (dob 9-23-1975); and Daniel Aguilar, 19 (dob 4-19-1987). All were identified by authorities as gang members.

Each is accused of one count of murder with the special circumstances of intentional murder of a witness to a crime, lying in wait, that the defendants were active participants in a criminal street gang and the murder was carried out to further the activities of the gang. The complaint alleged that Covarrubias and Gonzales personally used a knife to commit the murder.

A decision of whether to seek the death penalty against any or all of the defendants will be made by the District Attorney?s Office as the case moves closer to trial.

Fajardo, Gonzalez and Aguilar were in custody when the case was filed. Fajardo and 20-year-old Ernesto Alcarez are charged with the hate crime murder of Greene, who was killed on Dec. 15 when the defendants allegedly walked up to a residence in the Harbor Gateway area and opened fire. Both are scheduled to be arraigned on March 8 in Long Beach Superior Court. Gonzalez and Aguilar were in custody on unrelated matters.

Covarrubias was taken into custody in Iowa shortly after the arrest warrant was issued. He has waived extradition. Silva was arrested by Sheriff?s homicide investigators last night.

The case was filed by Deputy District Attorney John Allen Ramseyer of the Hate Crimes Unit of the Organized Crime Division. Ramseyer also is prosecuting the Greene murder case.

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