By Kelly Moran, Hannah Blome, & Jose Medina
ALAMEDA COUNTY – Defendant Jesus Danilo Lima returned Tuesday to Alameda County Superior Court for the second day of his ongoing jury trial over multiple murder and gun charges he currently faces in connection with an alleged drive-by shooting in September 2017.
Lima is alleged to have killed the victim in a drive-by shooting on Bancroft Ave. in Oakland. His defense is that he was responding to being attacked.
Monday, Judge Thomas Reardon of Dept. 8 heard three witnesses testify about the murder and listened as both Lima’s defense counsel Maggie Calonge and prosecutor Laurel Arroyo examined each one.
The issue of reliability of the witnesses has appeared to become a theme in this case, with Calonge and Arroyo pointing out the uncertainty present in earlier testimony.
More witnesses took the stand Tuesday, including Inspector and Spanish interpreter Guillermo Alvarez from the District Attorney’s Office, whom Arroyo repeatedly criticized on the lack of note taking in an interview he conducted.
“Your office has a policy of writing notes as an inspector and turning those into a report, correct?” Arroyo asked, with Velasquez replying the policy “dictates we should take notes if requested by the district attorney. I was told it was not necessary to take notes.”
Velasquez divulged that his testimony was based on his memory of a witness’ report.
“You were relying on what she heard,” Arroyo said. “Would you agree that sometimes people hear what they want to hear? If it was your job to play close attention to what the witness said, why didn’t you write it down?”
Other witnesses included officer Pedram Farhang from the Oakland Police Department who responded to the crime scene back in 2017.
Officer Farhang explained that the first thing he did when he arrived at the scene was enter a nearby liquor store, as an officer who had gotten there before Farhang conveyed the news that somebody had been shot inside.
“I saw that there was a person on the ground there that looked like he’d been shot,” said Farhang.
Upon Farhang’s arrival in the store, the victim, who identified himself to the officers though he was having trouble talking, was still conscious, but “did not look to be in good shape,” according to Farhang, who said there was “a large protruding thing coming out of [the victim’s] side right through the skin,” which he considered to be “very unusual.”
The next witnesses were Lima’s own brother, and a cousin of the victim, and the court learned more about Lima’s tragic childhood through his brother’s testimony.
Lima’s brother was called in as a witness to give testimony on their upbringing in El Salvador, revealing that Lima and his siblings had a hard childhood thanks to the abusive behavior of their mother’s boyfriend with whom they all lived, and who was verbally and physically abusive to his siblings and his mother.
He recalled that his mother’s boyfriend rarely went anywhere without his weapon of choice at his side. Lima’s brother stated that their mother’s boyfriend would “carry a machete around and raise the machete at anyone he’d get into a confrontation with.”
Lima’s brother continued by saying, “I remember seeing him swing the machete at one of his own family members,” noting that not even their mother’s boyfriend’s own blood was safe from his violent outbursts.
When the defense attorney asked the defendant’s brother how often they all suffered abuse from their mother’s boyfriend, he mentioned that it would be almost every day and the abuse was worse when he’d get drunk. He added that their mother’s boyfriend would “get drunk to the point of being violent every time he earned money.”
The defendant’s brother also mentioned that their mother’s boyfriend despised him and his siblings. He stated that he could hear his mother and her boyfriend argue all the time about him and his siblings not working and providing for the household. His mother’s boyfriend would often say that “your children are old enough to work.”
Lima’s brother said that their mother’s boyfriend would force Lima to go to work long laborious hours tending to crops at a young age. He added that his brother, the defendant, was “seven years old when he was forced by their mother’s boyfriend to work during school days.”
He continued that if Lima refused to go to work, their mother’s boyfriend would threaten Lima with the machete. He added that “he’d hit my brother for not working long hours in the fields.”
After hearing about Lima’s upbringing with his family, the defense attorney asked Lima’s brother why he has yet to buy their mother a new home. Lima’s brother stated that he hasn’t bought their mother a new home because she’s still with her boyfriend.
The defendant’s brother stated that his mother’s boyfriend is “always by my mother’s side and I don’t want him living in a house that I buy for her, after we’ve suffered so much because of him.”
The victim’s cousin was brought in to give his account of the shooting incident that took place in Sept. 2017.
The victim’s cousin recalled that when he and the rest of the group approached the defendant, the victim asked, “What’s the problem? Why are you pointing a gun at us?” He remembered that the defendant was dismissive toward the victim and the rest of the group.
The victim’s cousin remembered the defendant saying, “I don’t know you guys, what’s the problem?” and he started backing away from the group. The victim’s cousin stated that events escalated even further after this exchange.
He remembered that the victim told the defendant to “drop the weapon, if you have a problem with me, let’s resolve it through a fight!” The victim’s cousin then recalled that the victim lunged at Lima and punched him which then led to Lima firing a gun.
The victim’s cousin lamented his loss and said that “after my cousin hit the defendant, the defendant fired the gun and he killed my cousin.”
The victim’s cousin then stated that after he saw his cousin’s body fall to the ground he proceeded to grab Lima, and someone else who was with him and the victim knocked the gun out of Lima’s hand. They all managed to restrain Lima until the police arrived.
Lima is in custody at present and will appear in court again Wednesday as his trial continues.
Kelly Moran is currently a senior at Santa Clara University, originally from Connecticut. She is majoring in English, with a focus on British Literature and Professional Writing, and is also minoring in Journalism.
Hannah Blome is a third year Political Science major at UC Davis, pursuing a double minor in Professional Writing and Logic Philosophy. She is originally from San Diego, CA.
Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and has interned for the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.
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