Killing a Whittier police officer is more likely to enhance credibility for a gang member, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department gang expert testified in the course of the fifth day of Michael Christopher Mejia’s trial on Friday, Aug. 27, in Norwalk Superior Courtroom.
Mejia, 30, of Los Angeles is accused of killing Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer, injuring one other officer, killing an East Los Angeles man and carjacking, all on someday in 2017. But it surely’s the killing of a police officer, Detective David Duran stated in courtroom, that’s the form of crime to enhance Mejia standing in his gang, Winter Gardens.
“It raises the stature of gang members in the event that they’re prepared to kill a police officer,” Duran stated. “It offers them extra notoriety and reveals most of the people they’re prepared to kill for his or her gang.”
Along with being accused of fatally taking pictures Boyer, 53, Mejia additionally faces a rely of tried homicide for wounding Officer Patrick Hazell in a shootout that started round 8:30 a.m. Feb. 20, 2017, when the 2 officers responded to a visitors collision at Mar Vista Road and Colima Highway.
Earlier that day, Mejia fatally shot 47-year-old Roy Torres, in an East Los Angeles transformed storage, prosecutors have stated, earlier than stealing the sufferer’s automobile, the one concerned within the Whittier visitors accident.
Two weeks after the shootings, a number of companies on Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles have been tagged with graffiti that stated, “ESWGcopkilling,” Joe Carbajal, a sheriff’s deputy working out of the East Los Angeles station, testified on Thursday.
The primary 4 letters are acronyms for eastside and Winter Gardens, the latter being Mejia’s gang, Duran stated.
The graffiti was outdoors the Winter Gardens territory to point out different gangs “they wouldn’t hesitate to kill them in the event that they’re prepared to kill a police officer,” Duran stated Friday.
Duran additionally spoke to the numerous “W G” tattoos on Mejia’s face and physique: “Primarily based on the plethora of tattoos, it reveals delight.”
Throughout cross examination, protection lawyer Paul Cohen requested Duran if he would really like Mejia to take away the black masks he was carrying to guard in opposition to the coronavirus to see if the tattoos have been nonetheless there.
However after the attorneys and Choose Roger Ito went behind closed doorways, apparently the choose dominated in opposition to such a transfer because the masks didn’t come off.
Mejia did appear in court on Monday with out his masks whereas ingesting water, however the jury was not within the courtroom on the time. The tattooed initials on his face appeared appreciably faint in comparison with 2017 courtroom appearances.
Duran was the one witness to testify Friday.
Monday is predicted to be the final day of testimony, with Cohen delivering his opening statements and calling his witnesses. Closing arguments are anticipated on Tuesday.
The courtroom continued to utilize an overflow room, as solely two seats can be found for the general public within the courtroom. About 15 spectators have been current Friday, together with a number of Whittier law enforcement officials.
Workers photographer Sarah Reingewirtz contributed to this report.