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Killings of 2 men based on 'total bogus lie,' Sacramento prosecutor tells jury

Posted in Related Deaths
4-13-2011 California:

Priscilla Ramirez did have a bruise on her eye, police and prosecutors said, and she did cry with conviction when she called her cousin on the phone and asked him to pick her up near Florin Road.

She told Philip Perez Gonzales Jr. and his pal, Michael Lee Armstrong, that her boyfriend had raped her and beat her, according to authorities.

Now she wanted Gonzales and Armstrong to deliver a little payback, they said, and she got in the car and took them to her boyfriend's place at the Seavey Circle housing project.

There was one big problem with Ramirez's rape story.

It was "a complete and total bogus lie,"
Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall told a Sacramento Superior Court jury Tuesday.

Kindall's comment came in his closing argument in the Gonzales-Armstrong murder trial.

Armstrong, 23, and Gonzales, 27, are accused of special-circumstance double murder in the July 21, 2009, shooting deaths of Everett Antonio Taylor, 28, and Deshawn Dante Holloway, 35, in the Seavey Circle projects off lower Broadway.

Gonzales and Armstrong are on trial ahead of Priscilla Ramirez, 21. Her case is scheduled to follow in Judge Steve White's courtroom, after the two separate juries return verdicts on her co-defendants.

Armstrong's lawyer, Frances C. Huey, in her closing argument, unloaded on Ramirez as well.

Huey said Ramirez's false rape allegation revved her client – the accused gunman in the case – into a heat of passion.

Such an emotional frenzy is the legal requirement for what the defense attorney argued should be a voluntary manslaughter conviction, if that.

She also lodged theories that the shooting was an accident; that Armstrong shot in self-defense because he was afraid one of his victims might take away the gun he used to kill them; and that somebody else did the shooting.

"Just because two people died in this case doesn't mean you should have to convict two people of first-degree murder," Huey told the jury.

Closing arguments are scheduled for today in the case against Gonzales. Gonzales' lawyer, Donald Masuda, said in an interview that his client went to Seavey Circle only with the intention of beating up Taylor, that he didn't know Armstrong had a gun.

Russell W. Miller, the attorney representing Ramirez, could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

Relatives of the two victims said in interviews outside court that Taylor and Holloway had been improving their lives before they were snuffed out.

"He was a security guard," Taylor's mother, Mary Maldonado, said about her son. "He was getting his life together with his kids. I was very proud of him."

Holloway – the father of 10 children – had recently enrolled in a technical school and had been preparing to attend a wedding in the Los Angeles area when his friend Taylor visited him just before their deaths at Seavey Circle, relatives said.

It was Taylor who had been involved in a relationship with Ramirez, according to testimony at the Gonzales-Armstrong trial.

Witnesses said Taylor set Ramirez off by showing interest in another woman at Seavey Circle.

According to the prosecutor, Ramirez, from the back seat of her cousin's GMC Yukon SUV, directed Gonzales and Armstrong into the projects.

On arrival, they saw Taylor chatting with Holloway on a porch a few doors from Holloway's unit.

Prosecutor Kindall said Ramirez sent off the two suspects with very specific instructions about Taylor.

She asked that they shoot him in the penis, "so he don't use it no more," Kindall said, quoting a statement that Armstrong gave to police investigators.

Holloway took on the intruders' charge and tangled with Armstrong, Kindall said, before the gunman broke loose and fired on Taylor. Armstrong then turned and shot Holloway as the victim tried to run for his life.

Kindall said five shots hit the two men, four in their backs. ..Source.. by Andy Furillo

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