Former gang member testifies at murder trial
Samantha Yale Scroggin (Santa Maria Times) | September 12, 2012
A former longtime Guadalupe gang member who testified Tuesday for the prosecution during a murder trial in Santa Maria, knew he was much like his tattoo of the Grim Reaper — a walking dead man.
The former gang member, whose name is not being published due to concerns about his safety, testified against Alejandro Carrillo during the second day of his trial for the murder of Pedro Gonzalez.
Carrillo, 29, of Guadalupe, allegedly murdered 32-year-old Gonzalez, also from Guadalupe, on Feb. 14, 2010. Gonzalez’s body was found in a Nipomo broccoli field near the side of Bonita School Road early the next morning by an employee of San Ysidro Farms, which owns the property nearby.
Opening statements took place Monday in front of
Superior Court Judge James Rigali after a weeklong jury selection process.
Evidence was presented at an earlier hearing that Carrillo killed Gonzalez during a scuffle in the garage of a Guadalupe home, then transported his body in a vehicle to the broccoli field, where it was dumped.
Carrillo has also been charged with drug transportation and possession for sale because deputies allegedly found drugs on him in March 2011, while he was in Santa Barbara County Jail.
The former Guadalupe gang member testified Tuesday afternoon that he was once good friends with Carrillo, and said the two committed crimes together as Guadalupe gang members.
He said he was “jumped in” to the gang, or initiated by being beat up, when he was just 11 years old.
Now in his late 20s, the former gang member said he robbed people and shot people before giving up the gang life last year to cooperate in the case against Carrillo. He said he was testifying because he was tired of being a gang member.
It was not immediately clear what, if any, compensation he is receiving in exchange for his cooperation.
Visibly uncomfortable testifying against Carrillo, the former gang member at one point asked for a moment to collect himself.
“The consequence is death,” he said of speaking out in a courtroom. “I am green-lighted. I am wanted.”