By Christine Pelisek
At a key hearing today in San Diego, defense attorneys for the "bad
suburban boys" accused of plunging a knife into the heart of an unarmed,
college kid, Luis Santos, during a drunken brawl, sought to paint a picture of Santos and
his buddies as the aggressors.
Defense attorneys told the judge
that they have video from cameras in the area showing that the dead
young man, Santos, was not afraid for his life when he called his friend
on his cell phone to seek his help in standing up to four young strangers who
confronted Santos near San Diego State University.
Those four young strangers were later accused of murdering Santos, including Esteban Nunez, son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. It's a bizarre
case in many ways:
The courtroom was almost empty today. The only onlookers were Fabian Nunez, and possibly his brother, as well as the fiancé of the other young man facing murder charges, Ryan Jett.
Jett was boyish-looking in a blue suit, blue shirt and yellow tie, appearing like the clean-cut private school boy he was raised to be in Sacramento. Esteban Nunez, his childhood friend also accused of murder, sat quietly near his attorney.
Fred Santos, the father of the slain young man, sat alone across from Fabian Nunez and Ryan Jett's girlfriend.
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The hearing was held to decide what evidence is admissable at the May 3 trial. Will snippets of footage be allowed that shows part of the confrontation between the two groups of young men -- the ones who wielded knives, and the ones who apparently did not?
On another issue, the judge ruled that the prosecution could not bring up to the jury rap lyrics written by Esteban Nunez, found in his backpack in December of 2008. According to Deputy District Attorney Jill DiCarlo, the lyrics displayed anger toward a friend of Nunez' who was present and saw what happened the night Luis Santos was murdered. Judge Robert O'Neill denied the motion and ruled the lyrics will not be shown to the jury.
The judge also refused to allow text messages that the prosecution felt showed Nunez badgering eyewitness, Leshanor Thomas.
DiCarlo claimed "clearly this is showing Nunez' state of mind ... he is telling [the eyewitness] to keep his mouth shut." The judge said there was insufficient proof of that. However, the judge did allow Nunez' text message, sent to one of the defendants Rafael Garcia not long after the killing, which read: "Gangsta rap made us do it."