Man on trial a mafia `ghost’?

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Prosecutors say Beserra recorded the testimony on orders from the Mexican Mafia. The purpose, they say, was to prove to jailed Mexican Mafia gangsters that the witness was a “rat” who should be killed for testifying in court. At his nearly weeklong trial this past week in Norwalk Court on charges of witness intimidation, Beserra sat straight in his chair, his hands folded on the table in front of him. Every day he wore long-sleeved, buttoned-down shirts, his hair cut military-style short, his skin almost babyishly smooth, his mannerisms polished and gentlemanly. Contrast this with the appearance of the alleged Mexican Mafia member Beserra is charged with intimidating – the tattoos covering his arms and neck, his slouched posture on the witness stand, his hard gaze. “Ghosts are incognito,” the witness – who likely would be killed if his name appeared in print, according to prosecutors – told the court. “They fit in. They’re not recognized as gang members. But they’re really into doing things that need to be done for the gang,” the man said. “Ghosts can be car dealers, teachers, students, accountants, barbers,” he added. Their main job is to perform deeds for the gang – and to keep its members connected to “the real world,” the alleged gang member testified. He said his story began on Dec. 28, 2004, when he was shot in the head by a rival gang member, retaliation for demanding tribute from a local drug dealer, the man testified. Although he was shot in the head, he survived. Then he did something strictly impermissible for the Mexican Mafia – he turned to police for help. Worse, he agreed to testify in court against the shooter, the man said. That is when Beserra came in to the picture, according to prosecutors. The voice Beserra recorded Sept. 2, 2005, in Whittier Court is barely audible, but the witness is heard saying and spelling his name, according to court testimony. But that is not all prosecutors have as evidence against Beserra. After confiscating the cell phone in court, police searched Beserra’s home, where they found letters written to inmates that prosecutors say prove Beserra’s gang ties. One letter allegedly written by Beserra reads: “That fool from Cold Street is fired. If I have any problems with him, I’ll handle him. I got things set up on the street, so everything looks good.” King did not call any witnesses in Beserra’s defense. Instead, he argued that the prosecution did not make a strong enough case. Both sides ended their arguments Friday. A verdict is expected this week in Norwalk Court. “The bottom line is that the people are asking you to convict Mr. Beserra on these two felony counts \ with no evidence,” King told jurors. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NORWALK – Is he a “ghost,” or merely an innocent accountant? If he is a ghost, then clean-cut Henry Beserra, a former UCLA student with mild courtroom manners, augments his salary performing undercover dirty deeds for the Mexican Mafia, according to prosecutors. If he is what defense attorney Nolan King says he is, then the 30-year-old Murrieta resident is an innocent victim of overly aggressive prosecutors. His only crime was to inadvertently record on his cell phone four minutes of testimony during an attempted murder trial in Whittier Court, King asserts. The recorded testimony came from an alleged longtime Mexican Mafia member as he spoke in the trial of a rival gang member accused of shooting him. last_img