Newark schoolyard slaying trial will include gang expert testimony on MS-13 ties, judge rules
Alexi Friedman/The Star-Ledger
April 27, 2010, 1:07PM
A Superior Court judge in Newark today ruled that a gang expert will be permitted to testify at trial about the alleged connection between the defendant accused in the August 2007 Newark schoolyard slayings and the Central American gang known as MS-13.
Opening arguments in the trial against Rodolfo Godinez are scheduled to start within the hour. Godinez is accused, with five others, in the Aug. 4, 2007, execution-style killings of three college friends behind a Newark’s Mount Vernon School.
All six defendants have alleged ties to MS-13. The five other defendants will have separate trials.
Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin ruled today that gang expert Hector Alicea will be permitted to discuss the alleged link between MS-13 gang activities and the shooting that night in the schoolyard.
Alicea will also be allowed to analyze the statements Godinez made to police just after his arrest, which concerned his half-brother, Alexander Alfaro, one of the other five defendants. Godinez and Alfaro fled New Jersey following the killings, and were two weeks later. Godinez, who told police he was involved in recruiting MS-13 members, gave statements about initiating his half-brother into the organization.
Before breaking for lunch, Ravin told attorneys on both sides to work out specific parameters about what Alicea will discuss.