Juarez Witnesses Plead Fifth During Questioning

Defense Counsel Atkins Cites Fear of Retaliation as Motive

The defense team for Ricardo Juarez - the teen accused of fatally stabbing Luis Angel Linares in a March 2007 gang brawl - on Tuesday called another juvenile witness to the stand in as part of its effort to prove Juarez’s innocence. This witness, however, pled the Fifth and refusing to answer any of the attorneys’ questions.

The witness, a 15-year-old boy, was present at the State Street confrontation. Lead defense counsel Karen Atkins said after Tuesday’s proceedings that she believed the witness would not speak for fear of retaliation. “I think that he knows our client is going down for something that somebody else did,” she said.

Today, the defense brought to the stand Ricardo Romero, nicknamed “Stomper,” another minor, whom they are trying prove was actually responsible for the stabbing death. At his attorney’s suggestion, Romero also invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. “There’s no doubt in my mind that if he were called to testify he might incriminate himself,” said Judge Brian Hill after Romero had stepped off the witness stand.

Check Thursday’s print edition of The Independent for more on this story. The trial resumes on Friday morning.

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