|Obviously God's gang|
Orange County's Francisco Rodriguez told a compelling story to gain sympathy in the criminal justice system: His buddy Ismael Sierra (a.k.a. "Whisper") died in his arms after being shot and killed by Stanton gangsters in July 2003.
"I seen he was bleeding from his mouth, and he had blood all over him," Rodriguez would later testify. "When I held him, I picked him up and I looked, and in his back was a big hole and there was blood coming out of it . . . I looked at him and he was trying to talk to me . . . . I couldn't understand what he was trying to tell me [as he died]."
Like a scene from countless movies, the horrific experience left him, he claimed, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and drove him to join the West Myrtle criminal street gang for revenge.
He claimed the PTSD caused him--drunk on booze and high
on marijuana--to participate in the ambush killing of a rival hoodlum
and the serious wounding of a second man outside a Red Roof Inn.
But, according to the FBI, Rodriguez's sad story was a lie to gain undeserved sympathy.
Orange County Sheriff's Department deputy arriving at Whisper's death
scene found him face down. The corpse had not been moved after the the
fatal blast, and Rodriguez--in reality, a gangster who used the moniker
"Trigger" since at least the age of 15, had no blood on his clothing.
Nevertheless, it took three trials in federal court to convict him of conspiracy to murder, extortion and drug trafficking.
prosecutors, who despised Rodriguez's fake sympathy tale and lies on
the witness stand, wanted a term of life, but acknowledged that U.S.
District Court Judge James V. Selna was unlikely to agree. They
ultimately requested a punishment of 24 years in prison.
taxpayer-funded defense lawyer argued that a term of 10 years was
adequate especially considering the likelihood that Rodriquez will face
an additional consequences after he's released from prison: deportation.
month inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, Selna
rejected the government's view that the defendant, who has already been
incarcerated in pre-sentencing lockup for almost eight
years, is a hopeless gangster.
Rodriguez's "youth and difficult upbringing" as well as his "pursue of
educational opportunities" while locked up, Selna sided closer to the
defense request and issued a term of 14 years.
"He has potential," the judge declared in calculating a "sufficient" punishment.
is lucky; if he'd been sentenced in Orange County Superior Court under
California's severe anti-gang laws, he would likely be locked up for at
least the next 40 or 50 years.
to determine which federal prison is now home for this defendant because
the U.S. Bureau of Prisons presently has 17 inmates with the name