Edwin Ramos - the illegal alien who murdered 3 American citizens in broad daylight in S.F., and who, despite being a multiple felon, was repeatedly shielded from immigration authorities by S.F.'s sanctuary city policy - is finally going to court.
A year after the fatal daylight shootings of a San Francisco father and his two sons inflamed controversy over the city's sanctuary policies for protecting illegal immigrants, the 22-year-old suspect appeared in court Monday for a preliminary hearing that will determine whether he stands trial.
Edwin Ramos, a Salvadoran immigrant and alleged member of the MS-13 gang, was once shielded from possible deportation under an interpretation of San Francisco's sanctuary policy that officials have since disowned.
Ramos is accused of murdering Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Matthew, 20, and Michael, 16. Prosecutors say he mistook his younger victims for gang rivals when he opened fire on them June 22 as they drove in the Excelsior district near their home.
The killings, authorities said, happened when Tony Bologna blocked a car making a left turn while he was driving home from a family picnic. The killer opened fire after Bologna backed up to let the other car past.
Ramos has pleaded not guilty to murder counts that carry the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder as part of a street gang. The charges make him eligible for life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty if he is convicted, although District Attorney Kamala Harris has never sought execution since taking office in 2004.
The preliminary hearing is expected to last several days in San Francisco Superior Court, after which Judge Teri Jackson will decide whether Ramos must stand trial. It began Monday after Ramos sought unsuccessfully to have the judge close the hearing to the public. His attorneys argued that some evidence or testimony could endanger Ramos' wife and child if it is aired.
Ramos appeared in court with his ankles and left wrist shackled, and frequently whispered comments about testimony to his attorney. About a dozen members of the Bologna family - including Tony Bologna's widow, Danielle Bologna - attended the proceedings but declined to comment.
Little of Monday's testimony touched on the shooting itself. Prosecutor Harry Dorfman spent most of his time attempting to prove that Ramos was a gang member by linking him to gang-related incidents and to other alleged members.
One police officer testified that on the night Ramos was arrested, his 14-year-old sister-in-law said she thought he was a Sureño; the MS-13 gang, the officer said, is considered to be a subset of the Sureños.
Defense attorney Marla Zamora suggested the evidence of gang membership was flimsy, and under cross-examination another officer said Ramos had not been on a list of registered gang members in San Francisco.
During a break in testimony, Zamora said she planned a vigorous defense of Ramos, who she asserted was in the country legally.
"He did not shoot anybody on June 22, 2008, and he is not a gang member," Zamora said.
The Chronicle revealed last year that Ramos could have been deported after he was found to have committed two felonies at age 17, a gang-related assault of a young man aboard a Muni bus and the attempted robbery of a pregnant woman. But juvenile justice authorities did not surrender him to federal officials for possible deportation.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera subsequently said there was nothing in the city's policy of refusing to cooperate with federal authorities in deporting illegal immigrants that required juvenile justice officials to protect youths who commit felonies.
Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered juvenile authorities to turn over underage offenders to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency if they were undocumented immigrants.
The Bologna family has sued the city, blaming the city's "official and unofficial" sanctuary policies for allowing Ramos to walk free before the killings.
... and here's hoping the family can take us for everything. It would serve this batshit leftist government right.