By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Sonya Flores has now come forward with a new explanation of how she made such a mess of the identifications that night at the Rampart station. They were fabricated, she says, names that Perez was pulling out of the gang book.
A summary of her statement to investigators from the LAPD Rampart Task Force, recorded September 5 and made public last week, recounts the post-shooting interviews as follows:
Flores ”said that she knowingly committed perjury during her testimony regarding the murder that occurred outside of the McDonald‘s restaurant. Perez and Martin took [Flores] to an interview room at Rampart Detectives and showed her different photographs. [Flores] was only able to positively identify one of the shooters. Perez then left the room and returned with additional photographs. [Flores] was told by Perez to positively identify two additional photographs as suspects in the murder.“
Some time later, Flores ”recalled Perez taking her to the L.A. County Jail to participate in a live lineup. Perez showed her pictures of the individuals he wanted her to point out . . . During this lineup [Flores] picked the individuals Perez had instructed her to choose.“
The police interview is fairly limited in scope, and never addresses the question of why Perez might have so thoroughly tampered with the McDonald’s case, or what really happened at the McDonald‘s restaurant that day. It does, however, touch glancingly on why Perez might have cared. As Flores told investigators, ”Perez was interested in the money that was being generated by narcotics in the area.“ Of course, as a CRASH officer, Perez would naturally have an ”interest“ in narcotics traffic. But as Flores explained further, Perez was also aware of the gang’s traffic in forged immigration documents. Flores said, ”Perez was aware of this illegal activity and wanted a piece of the action. Perez made this statement to [Flores] and to one of the top Temple Street gang members.“
Here we get echoes of Ruben Rojas. Perez and his cohorts, Rojas told investigators last November, ”wanted my neighborhood, because my neighborhood, at that time, was like MacArthur Park, a million-dollar industry. They were trying to take over. There were cops that watched maybe too much internal affairs, you know, but that‘s what they wanted to do. Believe it, that’s what they thought they could do.“
Rojas had a specific interest in what happened at McDonald‘s, because Anthony Adams -- Stymie -- was a close friend.
Rojas says that Adams was a poor choice to frame for that slaying, claiming he was out of state at the time. In fact, Adams was not arrested until May of 1997, and in New Mexico, where he was serving time in prison, but by that time he was unable to prove his whereabouts 15 months before.
Rojas described the McDonald’s incident in his interview with detectives last year. His story is disjointed and rambling, broken up by detectives as well as his own attorney, but on his main allegations he is quite clear -- that the CRASH unit set up the entire incident, and Perez himself shot Malfavon.
”Perez and Martin set it up,“ Rojas says.
”Okay,“ a detective answers.
”Perez and Martin committed the murder.“
”But they blamed it on my neighborhood.“ a
Deputy D.A. Richard Rosenthal asked Rojas, ”Now, did Officer Perez and Martin do the shooting or did they order the killing, or do you even know?“
Rojas responded, ”Martin ordered the shooting, but it was Perez that did the killing.“
Rosenthal asked the obvious question: ”How do you know?“
Rojas: ”How do I know? Let‘s just say this, my friend was framed for that murder.“
The investigators followed Rojas’ lead and they discussed the predicament of Anthony Adams. Rojas was then pressed again on his more pointed accusation. ”Did you see Perez shoot?“
”No, I did not.“
”Did somebody on the street or in the neighborhood tell you specifically that Perez shot Lizard?“
”Yes, they did.“
”Do you want to tell us who that person is?“
”I cannot. The name I cannot say.“
”Okay. Because you‘re fearful for that person’s safety?“
Rojas was not put off by the detectives‘ skepticism. ”I could say this much right now: Perez is a fucking killer. Excuse my language, but Perez is the one that pulled the trigger.“
Perez’s attorney, Winston Kevin McKesson, said his client ”flat-out denies these allegations.“ McKesson pointed out that as part of Perez‘s plea bargain, he categorically denies any illegal acts to which he has not already confessed. Hewitt’s attorney, Paul DePasquale, said he could not comment on the charges. Martin‘s attorney could not be reached for comment.
After the McDonald’s homicide, Perez continued to press his campaign against Temple Street. The next April, Perez filed new charges alleging that suspects in the case had located Flores at her home in Huntington Park and threatened her if she dared take the stand against them. Named by Perez were Anthony Adams, who was still at large; Victor Hernandez, the ”Lil Blackie“ in Flores‘ original, bogus identification; and yet another Temple Street character, Rene Mationg.