I will be posting outcomes on the trials of Latino gang members accused of hate crimes against Black citizens. I have posted on gangs such as FS-13, among others, who have murdered Black people, most notably Cheryl Green, a little 14-year-old Black girl.
The following is an update on the convictions of Jonathan Farjado
and Danny Aguilar, two gang members of the 204TH street gang who murdered Ms. Green and an eyewitness to another homicide in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles, CA.
Latino Gang Member Who Targeted Black Victims Gets Life
A Latino gang member who a judge said “preyed on victims because they were black” received a sentence of life in federal prison (and then some) this week. Francisco Flores, 24, actually received a life sentence as well as a consecutive 10 years for racketeering that includes conspiring to commit murder, participating in an attempted murder, conspiracy to traffic in narcotics, and use of a firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Flores was one of ten members of South L.A.’s large Florencia 13 gang who have received recent sentences for racketeering convictions by federal authorities. At his sentencing Wednesday, U.S. district Judge David O. Carter said Flores “preyed on victims because they were black and for no other reason but racial motive.”
A second Florencia member, 36-year-old Jose Gonzalez, received 20 years this week for racketeering and drug trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office states. The pair, along with the other eight Florencia convicts, were nabbed in a federal sweep of the gang in 2007 that was dubbed the biggest gang take-down of its kind to date.
Agents arrested 97 of the 104 defendants named in an indictments against the gang’s members, and 94 of them have convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Five gangsters are federal fugitives.
Feds say that Florencia controlled the drug trade in parts of southern Los Angeles County such as the city of Huntington Park, where the gang would “tax” dealers for its share of profits and then give some of that money to the Mexican Mafia “in return for Mexican Mafia protection when they went to prison or jail,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.
During last week’s sentencing of another Florencia member, 34-year-old Arturo Cruz, Judge Carter said he was taken aback by the level of racism involved in the gang’s violence:
“I think this particular criminal organization is as ruthless as any the Court had seen,” he said. “I’ve dealt with the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood now, soon to be the Mongols, but you really take first place. The racism displayed in these tapes, the hunting down and tracking of black citizens, whether they are rival gang members in territory selling drugs, or just the innocent young lady I saw [a robbery victim targeted because of her race] that came into this court is barbaric, and I think society needs to draw a rather strong line.”
Latino Gang Member Sentenced to Death in Hate Crime Killing of Two, Including 14-Year-Old Cheryl Green
September 27, 2010 | 12:35 pm
A Los Angeles jury returned a death penalty verdict Monday for a 22-year-old Latino gang member convicted in the hate-crime killing of a 14-year-old black girl and a potential witness in Harbor Gateway.Jonathan Fajardo,
who was 18 at the time of the killings, nonchalantly looked around the courtroom as the verdict was read.The jury found he should receive death for both of his first-degree murder convictions for the slayings of Cheryl Green and Christopher Ash.Fajardo was eligible for the death penalty because the jury found true special circumstance allegations, including multiple murder, killing of a witness, committing a hate crime based on race and committing the crime for a gang.
Fajardo was a member of the 204th Street gang, which prosecutors said intimidated and attacked African Americans in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles.Green was gunned down in December 2006 as she stood on a driveway hanging out with friends when Fajardo walked up and opened fire at the group of young blacks.Ash was found on a roadside two weeks later, stabbed more than 60 times.Prosecutors said a group of gang members killed him because they suspected he was cooperating with authorities about Green’s death.Green’s mother clutched her hands together tightly as the verdict was read and later wiped away tears.”Justice was served for my baby,” she said afterward. “I feel her here right now.”– Victoria Kim
Two Gang Members Convicted of Hate Crime Murders
Jury deliberates less than two days before convicting the two men of the Harbor Gateway murders of a 14-year-old black girl and a potential witness.
September 10, 2010
|By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
Two Latino gang members were convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in a hate-crime trial involving the deaths of a 14-year-old black girl and a potential witness in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles.The jury deliberated for less than two days before convicting Jonathan Fajardo, 22, and Daniel Aguilar, 23, members of the 204th Street gang, of all charges. Fajardo was found guilty of killing Cheryl Green, whose slaying the jury found was a hate crime motivated by her race. Both men were convicted of participating in the murder of 21-year-old Christopher Ash, who prosecutors say was a fellow gang member suspected by the rest of the gang of talking to police about Green’s killing.Fajardo and Aguilar showed no emotion, staring blankly ahead, as their families wept in the audience. The penalty phase for Fajardo, in which the jury will decide whether he should receive the death penalty, is set to begin Monday. Aguilar, who faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 27.Charlene Lovett, wearing a black shirt with photos of her daughter and the words “Baby Girl Cheryl,” buried her head in her arms and sobbed, her shoulders shaking, as the verdicts were read. Later, she paced back and forth in the hallway in tears, whispering “Thank you, Jesus.”"It’s been almost four years and my life has just been a wreck since my daughter’s death,” she said afterward. “Now I can try to move on, and leave this part behind.”Green was shot in December 2006 as she stood with friends in a driveway in broad daylight. Prosecutors alleged at the trial that Fajardo was agitated from an earlier confrontation with a black man when he fired into the crowd of black youngsters. Three others were wounded in that shooting. Fajardo was convicted of seven counts of attempted murder for firing at the others in the crowd.Ash’s death came two weeks later. His body, stabbed more than 60 times and enveloped in a blood-soaked blanket, was dumped on a roadside in Carson. The gang suspected him because police served a search warrant on his apartment but released him the same day, prosecutors said.At the trial, a fellow 204th Street gang member testified in graphic detail about Ash’s killing in exchange for a lighter sentence. In his testimony, Jose Covarrubias recounted how Fajardo hit Ash in the head with the butt of a shotgun, causing him to stumble, after which other gang members beat and stabbed him. Aguilar, Ash’s best friend, was assigned to lure him to the garage, and later kicked him in the legs after he appeared dead, Covarrubias testified.Two other gang members, Robert Gonzales and Raul Silva, are expected to stand trial later this year in Ash’s slaying. Another man, Ernesto Alcarez, is charged in Green’s murder and is awaiting trial for allegedly acting as Fajardo’s lookout.In the two-week trial, Fajardo’s attorney disputed that Green’s killing, which Fajardo admitted to in police interviews, was motivated by race, calling it an “accident that rose of fear and anger” and a “rash impulse.” The defense attorney, Thomas White, also maintained that Fajardo did not know Ash would be killed. Antonio Bestard, Aguilar’s attorney, told jurors that other gang members kept his client in the dark about their plans to stab Ash to death because Aguilar was Ash’s friend.Both defense attorneys declined to comment after Thursday’s verdict.
Green’s death sparked furor in the community and outrage from authorities and politicians about long-standing gang violence and black-Latino tensions in the neighborhood, a narrow stretch of Los Angeles between Torrance and Carson where graffiti with racial epithets were an everyday occurrence.
The girl’s death was but one of a number of slayings in the area that police believe were racially motivated. The slayings date as far back as 1997.