Wit­ness: Shoot­ers 2 men in his gang

Ac­cused tar­geted ri­val, teen re­lates

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - DAVE HUGHES

FORT SMITH — A 17-year-old tes­ti­fied Tues­day that he saw two fel­low gang mem­bers spray bul­lets from as­sault-style ri­fles into a trailer that killed an 18-year-old mem­ber of a ri­val gang.

Jorge Chiri­nos, a North­side High School stu­dent, told a Se­bas­tian County Cir­cuit Court jury that he agreed to tes­tify truth­fully about the shoot­ing death of 18-year-old Justin Lopez in re­turn for un­spec­i­fied le­nience in his sen­tence.

Bryan Por­ras, 20, is on trial be­fore a jury of seven men and five women, ac­cused of fir­ing some of the more than 40 rounds from as­sault-style ri­fles into the trailer at 2315 N. Ninth St. in Fort Smith on Jan. 14. Inside the trailer were Lopez and his friend Trey Miller. Miller, whose fa­ther owned the trailer, was not in­jured.

Chiri­nos tes­ti­fied that the other man shoot­ing that night was Alberto Chavez, 20. Chavez is sched­uled to go on trial Nov. 27.

One of the bul­lets from the bar­rage last­ing 10 to 20 sec­onds struck Lopez in the back of the head, ripped through his brain to the front of his skull and killed him in­stantly, As­sis­tant Arkansas Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner Jennifer Forsyth tes­ti­fied.

A frag­ment of the bul­let Forsyth re­moved from Lopez’s head was ex­am­ined by Arkansas Crime Lab­o­ra­tory firearms and tool mark ex­am­iner Jennifer Floyd. She told ju­rors the frag­ment was from a bul­let fired from the AR-15-style ri­fle that Chiri­nos said Chavez was shoot­ing that night. He said Por­ras was shoot­ing an AK-47-style ri­fle.

Chiri­nos, Por­ras, Chavez and Ryan Ox­ford, 20, all mem-

bers of the Slanga 96 gang, are charged with first-de­gree mur­der, eight counts of com­mit­ting a felony with a firearm and seven counts of com­mit­ting a ter­ror­ist act. Por­ras also is charged with be­ing a felon in pos­ses­sion of a firearm.

They are be­ing tried sep­a­rately. In ad­di­tion to Por­ras and Chavez, Ox­ford is sched­uled to go on trial Dec. 18 and Chiri­nos on Jan. 8.

Tes­ti­mony con­cluded in the trial Tues­day. Cir­cuit Judge Michael Fitzhugh told ju­rors they will hear in­struc­tions and clos­ing ar­gu­ments and be­gin de­lib­er­a­tions start­ing at 9 a.m. today.

Chiri­nos tes­ti­fied that the Slanga 96 gang didn’t like the Clout Boys gang of which Lopez was a mem­ber. Pic­tures and videos that po­lice ex­tracted from Por­ras’ phone showed him and oth­ers hold­ing guns, pos­ing with them and point­ing them at the cam­era. Writ­ten on one of the pic­tures were the let­ters CBK, which Chiri­nos said stood for Clout Boy Killer.

Por­ras led the four on a search for Lopez on Jan. 14 that took them to a wed­ding at the Fort Smith Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. Tes­ti­mony ear­lier in the trial was that Por­ras was an­gry be­cause he be­lieved Lopez dis­re­spected the Slanga gang.

Chiri­nos said Por­ras and Chavez ques­tioned two men at the wed­ding, with Por­ras threat­en­ing one of them if he didn’t tell where they could find Lopez. The man, Jaime Aceves-Gar­cia, told Por­ras he had bought mar­i­juana from Lopez ear­lier in the evening at Miller’s fa­ther’s trailer, a hang­out for Lopez, Miller and oth­ers.

Por­ras drove them straight to the lo­ca­tion and pulled into the al­ley next to the trailer in Miller’s back­yard, Chiri­nos said.

Por­ras got out of the car and went into the back­yard just far enough to see that some­one was inside the trailer, Chiri­nos said. He ran back into the al­ley yelling “shoot, shoot,” and the shoot­ing be­gan. Chiri­nos said he and Ox­ford stood next to Por­ras’ car while Por­ras and Chavez fired into the trailer.

Por­ras drove them back to the wed­ding, say­ing it would be their al­ibi about where they were when the shoot­ing oc­curred, Chiri­nos said.

Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­riv­ing at the trailer ques­tioned Miller who said he thought Por­ras was re­spon­si­ble for the killing. Po­lice moved quickly that night to round up the gang mem­bers, wit­nesses and ev­i­dence to piece to­gether the story of how Lopez was killed.

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