Without any fingerprint matches, DNA proof or other physical evidence, authorities can typically only single out a suspect based on witness accounts. That makes for a tricky litigation for both the prosecution and the defense, and without a good criminal lawyer, Californians may end up behind bars because of false allegations against them.
Two alleged members of the Los Palillos gang that have been accused of kidnapping and murder argued that the only evidence against them is the word of two informants who defense attorneys said were fellow gang members that cannot be trusted.
Jose Beritan, 38, and David Valencia, 41, are on trial for purportedly abducting two people, killing them and attempting to dissolve their bodies in 55-gallon barrels of acid in San Diego. Beritan is also facing charges for a third murder.
Defense attorneys maintain that the only evidence that links the two suspects to the crimes are the testimonies of Guillermo Moreno and Carlos Pena, brothers who are alleged members of Los Palillos. The defense argued that the two have changed their stories and only began to cooperate when they were told they would be prosecuted with murder and could face capital punishment if they don't accept a plea bargain.
"They can't give you anything but the words of those two people who have a lot on the line," Valencia's attorney William Wolfe said during the trial.
The slayings that both suspects are accused of occurred in 2007, and over two years later, one of the witnesses led authorities to Valencia's ranch in San Diego where they were able to recover human remains, according to The Associated Press.
San Diego County deputy district attorney Mark Amador said in his opening statement that there would be physical evidence presented in the trial, but the witnesses were integral to the case, the source reports.
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