Orozco defense has no arguments, waives statement

first_img“(Orozco) chose the one place … that Deputy Ortiz was vulnerable,” Anger told the jury. “He had one shot, one chance if he was to kill Deputy Jerry Ortiz, he was going to have to strike him in the head.” When it came time for the defense to present its closing arguments, Attorney Robin Yanes said he waived the right. Judge Philip Hickok excused the jury from the courtroom to ask Orozco if he was comfortable with the unorthodox decision. The defendant told the judge he had discussed it with his other attorney, Stan Perlo, and agreed. “OK, I’ll accept that,” Hickok said before calling the jury back into the courtroom to give them instructions before they began deliberations. The unusual move led Deputy District Attorney Phillip Stirling to speculate that the defense simply did not want prosecutors to know what they plan to present during the penalty phase of the trial. Others wondered if it was designed to torpedo the prosecution’s closing arguments; they had saved a number of emotional points and a moving presentation for their rebuttal, which would have come after the defense’s closing if they had given one. Perlo, who made a similar decision by presenting no defense witnesses earlier in the trial, declined to explain the tactic. If Orozco is convicted, the prosecution is asking for death. More than once, the defense referred to Orozco as the shooter in the presence of the jury. But they also pointed fingers at a number of witnesses called to testify, demanding to know why they didn’t stop Orozco from killing Ortiz. The defense also spent a great deal of time questioning witnesses about Orozco’s drug use, painting the picture of a strung-out methamphetamine addict who was not in his right mind at the time of the alleged shooting. A final attempt to spread the blame for the young deputy’s killing was squashed Monday, when Perlo and Yanes asked that jury instructions include options to charge the three adult witnesses to the shooting with conspiracy and accessory to murder. There was no way the three women could not have known what their client was about to do, they argued, and the jury should know that he alone should not be on trial. The judge did not agree. “I don’t think we’re talking about an accessory (charge)…,” Hickok said. “We’re definitely not talking about a conspiracy.” Perlo and Yanes were more successful with their request that the jury be given instructions on finding the defendant guilty of second-degree murder as an option to the first murder charge pursued by the prosecution. The jury began deliberations at 2:30 p.m. They adjourned at 4 p.m. with no resolution and are scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. today. The jury, made up of five women and seven men, must decide whether Orozco is guilty of one count of murder in the gang investigator’s slaying, along with the special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer, murder while lying in wait, murder to avoid arrest and carrying out the crime to benefit his gang. Orozco has also been charged with one count of attempted murder, stemming from the shooting that occurred four days before the deputy was killed and two counts of being a felon in possession of a gun. Anger asked the jury to “do what is right and what is just,” by delivering guilty verdicts on all counts. The case, he said, is unusual in that it provided a mountain of evidence condemning the defendant. Among the dozens of witnesses called to the stand were five eyewitnesses to the shooting, including the two girls, who are now 8 and 10. They all testified that Orozco was hiding behind the open front door of an apartment in the 12200 block of East 223rd Street when the deputy was shot through a crack in that door, Anger argued. The girls, who are sisters, both described the gun in detail, he said. Jurors also heard from three other witnesses who said they saw Orozco running away from the scene of the crime with the .38-caliber revolver, which ballistic tests proved to be the murder weapon. Gunshot residue was found on the defendant’s hands and clothing, and his DNA was found on five different spots on the murder weapon, Anger said. Perhaps most damning was Orozco’s videotaped conversation with a fellow gang member and gang associate while in jail at the Bellflower courthouse, just a few days after the slaying. The tape showed Orozco and his friends talking about the shooting and his efforts to destroy evidence. He told them he urinated on his hands – which he believed would remove all gunshot residue – and he had tossed out the bullet casing from the single deadly shot, replacing it in the gun’s cylinder with a live round. The spent shell was found outside a home a few doors down from the crime scene, where Orozco was found hiding in a bathtub several hours after the shooting. Tests showed it matched the slug taken from Ortiz’s skull during the autopsy. During the jail cell conversation, one of the defendant’s friends pointed out that the eyewitnesses – the mother and the two girls – were also a serious problem for him. “Yeah, put her in her grave,” Anger said in his closing argument, reading Orozco’s words from a transcript of the taped conversation. “He saw her as … `the b—-‘ who will put him away,” Anger said at another point, noting the defendant went on to include the entire family in the death threat that was caught on tape. Other witnesses – friends of the defendant, including a fellow gang member – testified that Orozco had bragged about shooting the attempted murder victim on June 20 and said Orozco often talked about killing a police officer and “going balls out.” He wanted to make a name for himself in the Mexican Mafia – a powerful prison-based gang that controls almost all Southern California Hispanic gangs – and to put his own gang on the map, according to their testimony. The local gang clearly endorsed the killing, which sent a clear message that they would stop at nothing to achieve complete domination in the community, according to expert law enforcement witnesses. The proof, the prosecutor added, could be found in graffiti painted on a prominent area of town shortly after the shooting that ridiculed the slain officer, and rap lyrics penned by one of Orozco’s fellow gang members glorifying the crime. “When you kill a police officer it’s an attack on all of us,” Anger told the jury. “It is an attack on the very fabric of our society.” Tracy Manzer can be reached at [email protected] or (562) 499-1261. NORWALK – Defense attorneys offered no arguments Monday to the prosecution’s claims that their client, Jose Luis Orozco, killed a sheriff’s deputy in a calculated manner for fame and glory in his gang. They offered no explanation for Deputy District Attorney Lowell Anger’s charge that their 29-year-old client also tried to kill another man just a few days before allegedly ambushing Deputy Jerry Ortiz on June 24, 2005, and that Orozco targeted the other victim – who is black – simply because of the color of his skin. Anger described in detail the slain deputy’s final moments for the jury; how the officer was being watched by the armed defendant through a crack in a door. The prosecutor talked about the alleged killer knowing full well that two girls, a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old, were only a few feet away watching the scene unfold. last_img