Cell phone data and gun evidence were cited in the murders of MS-13

Cell phone data and gun evidence were cited in the murders of MS-13

Tech Highlights:

  • Gun No. 5 — a 9-millimeter pistol whose make is not known because it hasn’t been located, but was identified through casings and bullets left at the crime scene — was allegedly used to kill 21-year-old Abrahan Rojas-Najera.

  • 19 November — The prosecutor cited cell phone data and what she said was evidence of seven handguns used by the ten defendants to kill 10 victims across the city from 2013 to 2016 during opening remarks in the MS-13 gang murder trial, which ended Thursday. Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen elaborated on the circumstances surrounding the shootings and killings of the alleged victims in her presentation before the Santa Maria jury, citing bursts of short phone calls between the defendants before and after the killings, as well as the handguns used by them.

His 15-year-old brother, identified as Hugo N., was seriously injured in the shooting shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2015 near the intersection of West Cook and South Smith streets. Bramsen said Rojas-Najera was shot several times in the back and later died. The 911 call from a nearby male resident, who found them front of the Jewish temple and attempted to render aid, was played in court. “You’re gonna be OK, bro, breathe! Breathe!” the caller can be heard saying to the victim, before addressing the dispatcher in a frantic jumble of words. A person screaming in pain can be heard in the background. “Multiple shots fired! Cook and Smith!”

The defendants include Marcos Manuel Sanchez Torres, Juan Carlos Lozano Membreno, Traquilino Robles Morales, Juan Carlos Urbina Serrano and Luis German Mejia Orellana. The trial formally began on July 12 with evidentiary motions in Department 8 in Santa Maria’s Superior Court. Jury selection began in August and concluded earlier this month.

But in their rebuttals, the five defense attorneys said not so fast, contending the cell tower data wasn’t accurate enough to prove anything and only showed the defendants were at home, because they lived in the area. Additionally, they said the prosecution lacks crucial evidence such as DNA, surveillance video, proof of gun ownership or anything other than vague descriptions of the suspects.


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