OAKLAND -- There is no doubt that Marco Ruiz shot at a group of teenagers in East Oakland last year wounding one person in the group and another man who was riding his bicycle near the scene, a prosecutor and defense attorney said in closing arguments Wednesday.
But the attorneys' agreement does not make the jury's deliberations any easier because Ruiz is not the person on trial for allegedly trying to kill two people at the corner of 87th and Bancroft avenues just after sunset on March 16, 2011.
Instead, two men, one accused of driving a car Ruiz was in and another accused of also shooting at the group, are facing two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a firearm.
And the evidence against them is more open to debate.
Ruiz, a juvenile, was riding in a car allegedly driven by Julio Cesar Cordova-Montana, 20, when witnesses said they saw him jump out and start firing a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun at a group of teenagers which included Jesus Marquez, 18, who was injured. Alexander Morales, 31, is also accused of being in the car, jumping out with Ruiz, and maybe shooting at the group.
Ruiz was prosecuted as a juvenile and the results of his case remain confidential.
Deputy District Attorney Luis Marin asked a jury Wednesday to find Cordova-Montana and Morales guilty of the charges filed against them because, at the very least, the pair helped Ruiz with the shooting which also injured Sam King, 63,
Marin pointed to several witnesses who said they saw two people shooting even though the bullet casings found at the scene came from only one gun. Marin also pointed to the testimony of Marquez's mother who identified Morales as a person who jumped out of the car just before the shooting.
Cordova-Montana should be found guilty, the prosecutor said, because he knew what the pair had planned and helped them escape from the scene.
But Morales's attorney, Tiega Noel Varlack, said the evidence against her client is largely based on one witness and a host of circumstantial evidence that raises serious doubts about his guilt.
And Cordova-Montana's attorney, Theodore Johnson, said there was no evidence to prove his client knew what was going to happen after the pair jumped out of the car.
Saying the Oakland Police Department conducted a poor investigation, Varlack said steps that could have resolved many questions were not made.
The department never conducted a gun residue check to see if Morales had fired a gun that night and it also sold the car used in the crime before defense attorneys had an opportunity to inspect it. And most importantly, police never recovered the gun that was thrown out of the window of the car because by the time officers went back to the location, the gun had disappeared.
The sole witness who identified Morales as a shooter also never actually saw the 31-year-old fire a gun, Varlack said.
"All of the government's mistakes had left room for doubt," she said. "It's OK to hold OPD responsible for its mistakes."
The jury will begin deliberating the case Thursday.