Closing arguments were heard Tuesday in the trial of Westside Projects gang member Marcos Ramos with the jury entering deliberations at the end of the day.
Ramos, who was named in the citywide gang injunction announced last March, was arrested in February 23, 2010 after police responded to a call of trespassing in progress at 33 ½ Parker Way, Apt. 12. Upon their arrival, Ramos and Robert Harper were reportedly discovered in the vacant apartment. Officers said items typically used for cooking and injecting heroin were found, along with a Browning .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun in a bag in the hallway by the apartment’s door.
Ramos has been charged with possession of heroin, possession of a handgun by a felon, and possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm. If convicted, it would be considered a second strike for Ramos.
Hans Almgren, Senior Deputy District Attorney, asked the jury to consider the evidence presented in the case and how it related to constructive possession. Constructive possession occurs when an individual doesn’t directly posses an item, but is under control of it in some manner.
In relation to this case, Almgren said that both Ramos and Harper could have joint constructive possession of the heroin as they were both in the apartment near the drug and had the ability to use it. Then Almgren submitted to the jury that while Ramos was not found to be in contact with the gun, he was able to go into the hallway and get it from the bag if he chose to.
He followed the statement up by reminding the jury that Ramos’s DNA had been found on the gun, letters on the top of the bag were addressed to him, and the shoes on top of the bag matched Ramos’s size, not Harper’s.
Defense attorney Nathan Poulos spent the majority of his closing arguments describing how the prosecution’s witness, former Guadalupe gang member Anthony Melena, was simply a “snitch” looking for a way to reduce his potential time in county jail.
Poulos also explained to the jury how the prosecution had failed to find Ramos’s fingerprints on any of the assorted items in the bag or any of the drug paraphernalia, and that three other unidentified individuals had their DNA on the gun. He added that the prosecution had no proof Ramos knew the bag was even in the hallway or that he had even used drugs on the day of his arrest.
In his rebuttal, Almgren reminded the jury that Melena had no written deal to testify in this case and had offered the information he had gained during his time in county jail with Ramos. He added that the prosecution did not need to show Ramos was high or had used, just that he had the ability to given his proximity to the drugs.
Jury deliberations continue today.