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Thursday, 23 October 2008

Orlin A. Campos-Cerna, 18, was arrested last year on suspicion of fatally shooting Jose S. Avila.

11:03 | , ,

Orlin A. Campos-Cerna, 18, was arrested last year on suspicion of fatally shooting Jose S. Avila. Avila was killed while sitting in his car with Anthony Tirado, a few blocks off Fourth Plain Boulevard. Tirado was not injured. The state and the defense have different theories as to what led to the shooting, but agree that the heart of the conflict was gang affiliation.To help jurors understand a gang member’s mentality, Deputy Prosecutor Tony Golik put Henderson, who works exclusively on Hispanic gang crimes, on the witness stand.Henderson said Sureño members increased significantly in Los Angeles in the mid-1940s, creating a crime wave that funneled Hispanics into a prison system run by white gang members who preyed on Hispanics.The “Mexican Mafia” was created in response to protect its members, Henderson said.
In the late 1960s, there was an influx of Hispanics from Northern California going to prison, and they were harassed by the Mexican Mafia, who looked down on the field workers, Henderson said. Thus, they created “Nuestra Familia,” to protect themselves.
The Sureños fall under the umbrella of the Mexican Mafia, Henderson explained, and Norteños are under the umbrella of the Nuestra Familia.They are rivals in prison and on the street, Henderson said.Within each group, there are different sets, he said. Campos-Cerna belonged to MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, a Salvadorian street gang that began in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Henderson said the set has become so widespread, with a presence in at least 42 states, that the FBI created a task force in 2004 just to deal with it. Campos-Cerna moved from El Salvador to L.A. when he was 13 and moved to Vancouver two years later. Court-appointed defense attorney Clark Fridley told jurors during opening statements on Monday that his client moved to Clark County to escape the gang life.But hundreds of gang members are here, Henderson told jurors. Drive around and notice graffiti from Norteños, such as Norte, XIV, or X4 (the number 14 is used because N is the 14th letter of the alphabet); or Sureño tags such as Sur, 13 or X111 (13 for the letter M). Norteños dress in red and Sureños dress in blue, he said, colors picked because they were the choices of bandanas issued decades ago in California prisons.Golik asked Henderson whether a gang member who is wearing his colors in the area of Fourth Plain Boulevard and Evergreen Park is going to get challenged.Yes, Henderson said. When Campos-Cerna was interviewed by detectives last year, he said Tirado and Avila were harassing him, calling him “scrap” and telling him he “don’t bang” and his colors “don’t mean nothing.”
“In the Sureño gang culture, what is he supposed to do?” Golik asked Henderson.
“In the gang culture, you can’t let a disrespect go,” Henderson said. Under cross-examination, Henderson said he had known of Tirado before the Oct. 11, 2007, shootings but had not heard of either Avila or Campos-Cerna.Fridley argues that his client fired in self-defense. “You have no evidence that Orlin Cerna was involved in this incident to make a name for himself?” Fridley asked.

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