Judge to decide on uncensored police reports in Tara Romero case - Morgan Hill Times: Crime Fire Courts

Judge to decide on uncensored police reports in Tara Romero case

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 5:20 pm

The judge presiding over the case of five young men suspected of murdering Morgan Hill resident Tara Romero, 14, is expected to issue a ruling next week on whether or not the defendants can have access to uncensored police reports.

Romero was shot to death in a drive-by shooting near the intersection of Cosmo and Del Monte avenues Nov. 4, 2011. She was standing on a grassy knoll near the intersection with a group of friends about her age. Three of those teens - all Morgan Hill residents and all Sobrato High School students at the time - were injured by the gunfire, police said.

While police think the suspected shooters are gang-related and carried out the shooting for gang-related reasons, the victims were not involved in any illegal street gang activity. The victims were standing in the area waiting for a ride home from a birthday party.

Esmeling Bahena, 18 of Morgan Hill; Ricardo Diaz, 19 of Morgan Hill; Fernando Mateo Lopez, 20 of Gilroy; Primitivo Hernandez, 23 of San Jose; and Ramon Gutierrez, 17 of Morgan Hill are each charged with murder and attempted murder, with enhancements for being associated with an illegal street gang.

They were arrested within an hour after the shooting, as a Morgan Hill officer saw their car blow through a stop sign in the area and flee to a home on Barnell Avenue - about a mile from the shooting scene.

The suspects will next appear at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose July 26, according to deputy district attorney Peter Waite.

For the last few months, the prosecutors and defendants have been arguing an evidence-sharing issue, in which the suspects are seeking access to the police reports of the incident in which the names and addresses of witnesses and victims are not redacted.

Waite has said that the defendants should not be allowed access to such information because it could endanger the lives of witnesses and victims.

The suspects have not yet entered a plea.

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  • ct3 posted at 12:09 am on Tue, Jul 24, 2012.

    ct3 Posts: 12

    IF there was any questio about whether or not a bunch of people who's actions (drive by shooting) and "profiles" match those of gangs, wanting to know the details about whose who talked with the cops regarding the incident answres that question.

    what good is that info, IF you dont have fellow criminals, like other members of your gang, who are on the streets and willing to commit felonies for you???

    personally, since i'm quite aware its a FACT that pleading guilty usually removes the worst possible sentence, death in this case, from the possible outcomes, i hope these guys plead innocent.
    sure, our schools and roads will be in need of the money wasted proving the obvious, but maybe, just maybe the murderers will get the one and only just punishment for their actions.
    it will take twice the years tara lived to happen, but its still better late then never.

  • Revenge-of-the-Giant-Face posted at 6:47 pm on Fri, Jul 20, 2012.

    Revenge-of-the-Giant-Face Posts: 5

    Why is it even a valid question for them to ask for the uncensored report? What could they possibly need the names of all those people for..? Why isn't there argument on why they need it in the story?