SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A jury on Wednesday found Edwin Ramos guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of a father and his two sons in San Francisco in 2008 but deadlocked on whether he actually fired the shots.
Ramos, 25, an alleged MS-13 gang member, was accused of killing Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, on June 22, 2008, near Congdon and Maynard streets in the city’s Excelsior District.
Following a trial in San Francisco Superior Court that started in January, the jury deliberated for a week before returning with a verdict Wednesday afternoon.
Ramos was found guilty of the three counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances including gang enhancements, that there were multiple murders, and that the murders were willful and premeditated.
He was also convicted of attempted murder because another son, Andrew Bologna, was in the family’s car but escaped injury in the shooting. Andrew testified during the trial that Ramos was the shooter and the only person he saw in the car.
However, the jury deadlocked on whether Ramos was the one who actually fired the shots. He had testified during the trial that he was driving his car from which another man, Wilfredo “Flaco” Reyes, shot the Bolognas.
KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:
The jury also deadlocked on a count of conspiracy to commit murder. Those counts were dismissed by the prosecution.
As the verdict was read, Danielle Bologna, the wife and mother of the victims, sobbed audibly and pointed to pictures of her slain family members that she had placed on the bulletproof glass separating the courtroom from the public seating area.
Bologna spoke to reporters following the verdict, expressing her gratitude for the resolution to the case.
“I feel like a huge thing has been lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “I’m sure they’re up there dancing right now.”
She said of the pictures, “I needed them to be there because it was about them. It’s part of closure for us and a new beginning for our lives.”
Danielle remains in protective custody with Andrew Bologna and a daughter who is not being named to protect her safety.
Ramos initially remained stoic while the guilty pleas were read but began wiping his eyes with a tissue as each juror was polled about their decision on the verdict.
His attorney, Marla Zamora, released a statement following the verdict.
“We are surprised that the jury could not agree on whether Mr. Ramos actually fired the gun, yet chose to convict on first-degree murder,” Zamora said.
“Justice has not been delivered to the city of San Francisco nor the victims so long as the killer, Wilfredo Reyes, is still on the streets,” she said.
District Attorney George Gascon held a news conference following the verdict along with Assistant District Attorney Harry Dorfman, who prosecuted the case.
“Few cases have captivated the attention of so many people … in our community,” Gascon said.
“I believe we can all be relieved today that justice has been achieved,” he said.
Dorfman said, “This was a long, hard road, I have lived with this case for over three years … I’m grateful, I’m happy, I’m relieved.”
He said following the verdict, he discussed with the jury their deadlocking on whether Ramos was the one who fired the shots.
“They acknowledged they had plenty of discussion on the point … that they could not reach a unanimous agreement that he was the trigger man in the case,” he said.
“But the rest of their verdicts and the rest of their findings made crystal clear what they did understand, that this was a gang retaliation murder, planned and carried out with multiple victims.”
When the verdict was read, the courtroom was filled to capacity, mostly with family members and friends of the Bolognas, some of whom wore white shirts that said “FINALLY JUSTICE IS SERVED” on the front of them.
Lorraine Kennedy, the sister of Anthony Bologna and aunt to his sons, said, “This justice today will not bring my family back, but it helps a little.”
The deaths of the Bolognas gained national attention because of San Francisco’s sanctuary policy, which shielded undocumented juveniles suspected of crimes from being reported to federal immigration agents.
Ramos, who remained in the U.S. on an expired visa from El Salvador, was never reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials despite multiple contacts with police as a juvenile.
Ramos is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on June 4. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)