In a big win for gang detectives, the bigoted, drug-peddling Rios, 48, got 20 years in federal prison and his equally noxious son, 22, got 10 years. The pair roamed Azusa scaring the bejesus out of people, with their faces, heads and necks tattooed with "Azusa.'' In court, they were bedecked in chains:
On Tuesday, October 2, in less than a day of deliberating at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, the 12-member jury agreed on a verdict: Scott Joseph Barker, a 25-year-old who came to Los Angeles from Florida in the hope of becoming a screenwriter and actor, was found guilty of murdering Beverly Hills resident Tony Takazato. Barker sat expressionless when the court clerk read the decision.
Barker was convicted of first-degree murder with a special circumstance -- and faces a sentence of life without parole. Undoubtedly a fate he never expected when first arriving in L.A., Barker may end up growing old and dying in a California state prison.
On the last day of his trial, alleged murderer Scott Barker, a 25-year-old wannabe screenwriter and actor who carried himself in the world with a kind of macho confidence, couldn't stop himself from looking cocky, laughing at Los Angeles County prosecutor Linda Loftfield during her closing argument.
Within a matter of days, though, the prosecution team of Loftfield and Amy Carter may get the last laugh: Barker's first-degree murder trial has now gone to the jury for deliberation.
At the Beverly Hills murder trial on Tuesday, Marion Bronowicki, the former best friend of key witness Chie Coggins-Johnson, took the stand, describing a troubled young woman who is caring and loving but also prone to lying and abusing drugs.
"Did [Coggins-Johnson] lie compulsively?" defense attorney Bradley Brunon asked Bronowicki, a blonde 20-something.
"Yes," she replied.
At the Beverly Hills murder trial on Monday, defense attorney Bradley Brunon wanted to make one, overriding point to the 12-member jury: The prosecution's key witness, former rhythmic gymnast-turned-prostitute Chie Coggins-Johnson, could not be trusted.
L.A. County prosecutor Linda Loftfield was clearly perturbed by the tactic, aggressively objecting throughout Brunon's cross examination.
At the Beverly Hills Courthouse last Friday, key witness Chie Coggins-Johnson took the stand again and said Scott Barker, who's on trial for first-degree murder, called victim Tony Takazato a "pussy" and laughed after killing him.
Coggins-Johnson also blamed her continued shaky performance on nervousness. Defense lawyer Bradley Brunon will continue his cross examination of Coggins-Johnson today.
At the Scott Barker murder trial in Beverly Hills on Thursday, Chie Coggins-Johnson finally took the witness stand, sitting only feet away from her ex-boyfriend and testifying for the prosecution that Barker brutally murdered Tony Takazato.
So far, Coggins-Johnson, a key person for the prosecution's case, has been an unsteady witness.
The Scott Barker murder trial in Beverly Hills started up again on Wednesday after a two-day recess, with court observers anticipating the testimony of Chie Johnson, a former rhythmic gymnast who found herself involved in prostitution and pornography and as a suspect in the brutal murder of 21-year-old Beverly Hills resident Tony Takazato.
Before Johnson's testimony in person, L.A. County prosecutors Linda Loftfield and Amy Carter showed the jury a video of Johnson's 2010 taped interview with Beverly Hills Police Department detectives, which resulted in her being charged for murder. The video, oddly enough, played into the defense's previous attempts to paint Johnson as a "pathological liar" who cannot be trusted.
At the Scott Barker murder trial, in the Beverly Hills courtroom of Judge Elden S. Fox, the words and actions of three twenty-somethings have been the focus, with their parents receiving little attention. That changed this past Friday when Susan Coggins took the stand.
The story she had to tell was sad and devastating. It was only made worse by the obvious fact that Coggins had done everything in her power to help her wayward daughter, Chie Coggins-Johnson, and it still didn't work. At the end of her testimony, having just relived years of deep worry and sadness, the mother walked out of the courtroom in a daze.
On Thursday at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, L.A. County prosecutors Amy Carter and Linda Loftfield continued their long slog in carefully presenting evidence at the first-degree murder trial of 25-year-old Scott Barker, whom friends described to one journalist as a charmer.
From police videos to graphic photographs to a bent kitchen knife, this time they offered up a criminalist's analyses of bloody shoe prints and a piece of torn fabric Beverly Hills police had found in the lifeless hand of murder victim Tony Takazato, who may have been some kind of pimp.