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Triple murder suspect appears in court

July 21, 2008 7:28:25 PM PDT
The crime was a murderous case of road rage and the suspect is a man who may have won a reprieve in his youth under San Francisco's sanctuary policy for illegal immigrants. Because of that policy, he wasn't deported after being arrested as a juvenile. So now, years later, he's accused of killing a San Francisco father and his two sons.

Edwin Ramos' attorney claims his client cannot get a fair trial in San Francisco because the media is giving out false information. He says that Ramos is not to blame for the murder of Tony Bologna and his two sons.

Edwin Ramos was supposed to enter a plea of not guilty on Monday. The 21-year-old is accused of killing Tony Bologna and his two sons last month. Police say they were shot when they accidentally blocked Ramos' car in the Excelsior District.

The judge agreed to postpone Monday's hearing because Ramos' attorney filed a motion for a gag order. Lawyer Robert Amparan wants all those involved with the case to stop talking to the media.

"His rights are being violated in terms of the disclosure of alleged juvenile records and the information underlying alleged convictions," says Amparan.

Amparan is referring to a published report that Ramos was convicted of two felonies as a juvenile. He is a native of El Salvador. Investigators say he is also a member of a violent street gang called MS-13 and that he was in this country illegally.

But, juvenile probation did not alert federal immigration officials because city policy prevents the department from considering the immigration status of juvenile offenders.

Police records also reveal that in March, three months before the murders, Ramos - now an adult - was arrested because his car had no front license plate and illegally tinted windows. A passenger was also arrested during that stop for carrying a gun which was later traced to a double murder.

At the jail, sheriff's deputies found Ramos was an illegal immigrant. They asked immigration officials if I.C.E. wanted to put a deportation hold on him.

"In this case they chose not to. I don't know why but they did not put a hold on him and so when the local charges were dropped on him, we released him," says San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey.

Immigration officials tell ABC7 that they're checking to see why they decided not to hold him. Amparan says his client did not shoot the Bolognas, nor is he even a gang member.

"Not only is he not a member of a gang, but he was out there in the community doing gang abatement work, trying to get other young individuals not to engage in that kind of lifestyle," says Amparan.

When asked, Amparan declined to identify the gang intervention group he was involved in. he says those details would emerge in trial. The next hearing is Wednesday when the judge is to rule on the gag order and Ramos will enter his plea of not guilty.

Links
For more on this story and the sanctuary policy in San Francisco click here.


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