Edwin Ramos, 22, of El Sobrante, repeated "not guilty" four times in response to three counts of murder, for the June 22, 2008, Excelsior District fatal shootings of Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, and to one count of attempted murder, for another son who was not hit and survived.
The charges include gang and firearms allegations, and two special-circumstance allegations for multiple murders and a murder committed in furtherance of participation in a criminal street gang.
Ramos was held to answer to the charges on June 29 of this year, at the conclusion of a 10-day preliminary hearing that included testimony by the surviving son, who identified Ramos as the shooter.
The hearing also included testimony by police who said Ramos, during an interview after his arrest three days following the killings, admitted to driving the car used in the shooting but denied firing the gun.
Ramos told police another man, who investigators believe is an MS-13 shot-caller but has not been found, fired the gun.
Police and prosecutors have said the victims may have been mistaken for rival gang members, after the shooting of another alleged MS-13 gang member earlier that day in the nearby Mission District.
Ramos' attorney has said Ramos was not an active gang member at the time.
The family was driving home from a Sunday picnic in Fairfield when they encountered a Chrysler 300 at a stop sign in the 200 block of Congdon Street.
The son testified that the Chrysler at first blocked their path, then pulled up alongside the family's car as Ramos glared at his father. Then shots rang out as the son ducked for cover in the back seat, he said.
Prosecutor Harry Dorfman said today his office has begun the process of exploring whether to seek the death penalty, delivering a letter to Ramos' attorneys for them to provide any "mitigating information" on behalf of their client.
District Attorney Kamala Harris in her election campaign stated her opposition to the death penalty -- a stance she has maintained even in the case of a man accused of gunning down a San Francisco police officer in 2004 -- but Dorfman today said no decision has been made yet about the Ramos case.
Ramos, who remains in custody without bail, is due back in court Aug. 13 to set a trial date.