A man accused of killing a father and two sons in San Francisco’s Excelsior District in the summer of 2008 took the stand today to testify on his own behalf. Edwin Ramos, 25, of El Sobrante, is accused of fatally shooting Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20 and Matthew, 16 on the afternoon of June 22, 2008, near Congdon and Maynard streets as the family was driving home from a picnic.
Ramos began his testimony today by describing his childhood, which he said included emotional abuse by his mother and physical abuse by one of her boyfriends. Ramos said he obtained a visa to move to the U.S. from El Salvador when he was 13, but clashed with his mother after moving in with her in San Francisco’s Mission District. “When I cried, she said I was gay,” he said, adding that she also told him “she wished I was never born.” Ramos said he ran away and briefly slept on park benches in the neighborhood, where he was befriended by a member of the MS-13 gang. He later got “jumped in” to the gang, and quickly got into trouble with the law, getting arrested multiple times for violent incidents in the city.
Ramos was sent to a group home at one point, and also served time at the Log Cabin Ranch, a juvenile detention facility in San Mateo County. Ramos smiled frequently during his testimony this morning, telling his defense attorney Marla Zamora that he smiles a lot “when I’m nervous.” The testimony is expected to continue into the afternoon and has not yet touched on the events on the day of the murders, when prosecutors say Ramos shot and killed the Bolognas after mistaking them for rival gang members.
Prosecutors allege that the killings were retaliation for the shooting of another MS-13 gang member in the Mission District earlier that day. Zamora has said that Ramos was driving the car from which the shots were fired, but that another gang member, Wilfredo “Flaco” Reyes was the shooter. Reyes remains at large.
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