SAN JOSE -- Adrian Medina didn't die a pretty death -- and the path to justice against the gang charged with disemboweling the innocent teen also has been ugly.
Six years after Medina was set upon by the Los Latinos Locos gang for no reason, prosecutor David Pandori on Monday finally gave voice in a closing argument to outrage over the vicious crime.
Seven members of the gang are charged with murder, including David Ayala, who was 16 years old when he allegedly straddled Medina and stabbed him 25 times, eviscerating him and piercing his heart. Medina's skull also was fractured by Carlos Valdez, then 17, the prosecutor contended.
"It was a massive attack," Pandori said, choking up while describing the gruesome details and prompting one of the three female jurors to dab at her eyes. "There was no real reason for it."
As Medina was dying, he told a friend who came to his aid that "Everything is going to be OK"and then choked on his blood.
By the time the verdict is rendered, the case will have cost county taxpayers about $2 million in legal fees for the indigent defendants. The trial was delayed until about six months ago for several reasons, including because two attorneys fell ill and a third moved to have his client declared incompetent to stand trial. Another delay came after a judge concluded that the previous prosecutor improperly concealed crucial evidence from defense attorneys in 2011 on the eve of trial.
The other defendants, according to the prosecutor, participated in the attack in a variety of ways, including by beating up three of Medina's friends who tried to intervene, and are thus equally culpable under the law on the murder charge. Other charges include two counts of felony assault and one count of misdemeanor battery.
Medina, 19, who did not belong to any gang, was attacked at a party on Brigadoon Way in East San Jose on July 8, 2007. It turned out, according to Pandori, the so-called Triple L gang frequently hung out at a nearby house and park.
"Adrian was just at the wrong place at the wrong time," Pandori said. "In this particular case, this was the wrong place all the time."
The attack was so sudden, Pandori told the courtroom filled largely with loyal relatives of the defendants, that Medina had only one defensive wound on his arm. District Attorney Jeff Rosen, in a sign of the trial's importance to his office, also stopped in to witness the protracted case that is finally drawing to a close.
The gangsters thought they could get away with it, partly because it was dark (after 1 a.m.), and none of the partygoers knew them.
Marathon of work
But the prosecutor told the jury of nine men and three women that two San Jose police detectives -- Michael Knox and John Seaman -- conducted a "marathon" of interviews and ''worked a miracle."
The evidence includes DNA from blood on the clothing of several defendants, as well as testimony by two other gang members against the men on trial.
The gang primarily was counting on fear of retaliation to shield them, the prosecutor said. But several people, including three girls who were at the scene -- one of whom is related to one of the defendants -- wound up helping police.
"Disgust and horror overcame friendship and fear," Pandori said.
Lawyers for the defendants are expected to begin giving closing statements Tuesday.
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.