Officer Testifies in Gang Member’s Murder Trial

IN BRIEF / VENTURA
Officer Testifies in Gang Member’s Murder Trial
From Times Staff Reports

August 29 2002

Minutes after checking out reports of a noisy party at a west Ventura gang hangout, police officers returned to find a man lying unconscious outside his apartment, suffering from severe injuries, an officer testified Wednesday.

Officer Matt Liston told jurors in the Ventura County murder trial of a gang member accused of participating in the September 1999 beating death of William Zara that he found the 18-year-old lying on his back, breathing shallowly, after an apparent fight.

Zara, a stagehand at the Ventura Theater, died at a hospital the next day.

Ramiro Salgado, 23, is the last of five defendants to stand trial in the death of Zara, who prosecutors say was kicked and beaten by about two dozen gang members who mistakenly thought he had reported their party to police.

The four other defendants, who were charged months before police uncovered evidence of Salgado’s alleged involvement, were convicted of murder last year. They are all serving life sentences.

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