LOS ANGELES – New details of a teen’s slaying at a Pomona house party were revealed in court testimony today during a preliminary hearing for seven young men charged in the case.
Marquis LeBlanc, 18, was beaten by a group of young men at a Virginia Avenue party on April 17, 2009 after he took out a gun and waved it at people, according to witnesses.
LeBlanc, of Diamond Bar, escaped his assailants after an initial beating and ran down Virginia Avenue. The group chased him and caught up to him four or five houses away, a witness said this morning.
A man struck LeBlanc in the head with a two-by-four and he dropped to the ground. The rest of the group commenced “stomping” the teen, according to a witness who watched the beating through a window at his home.
The crowd eventually dispersed, leaving LeBlanc on the ground, but two or three men remained. One of the men retrieved a handgun from a car. As he approached LeBlanc, who lay motionless, one of the other men confronted him, the witness said.
“He was pushing him, telling him not to do it, not to do it because it wasn’t worth it,” the witness said. “He just pushed him away.”
The man holding the gun walked to LeBlanc and shot him once, killing him. The man who tried to keep the shooter away lifted his hands to his head, the witness said.
Today was the second day of testimony in a preliminary hearing for seven young men charged in LeBlanc’s killing. Three others also face criminal charges, but a preliminary hearing for them won’t be held until November.
At a preliminary hearing, prosecutors must present evidence for a case to proceed to trial.
Eight people are charged with murder for LeBlanc’s killing: Adrian Zuniga, 16; Luis Martinez, 19; Adam Delgado, 21; Edgar Cisneros, 20; Richard Vasquez, 18; Victor Guillen, 18; Ralph Richard Alfaro, 18; and Martin Haro, 16.
Efrain Prado, 21, and Haro are charged with assault. Arturo Casas, 21, is charged with robbery.
During the hearing at the Clara Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, several witnesses have complained of intimidation from supporters of the defendants.
Judge William R. Pounders has admonished the defendants’ supporters not to speak to witnesses in courthouse hallways, and this afternoon he had his admonishment translated by a Spanish-language interpreter.
“I’m getting very tired of witnesses in this case being threatened,” the judge said.
Some witnesses – including those who have complained of intimidation – have recanted in their testimony prior statements to police identifying LeBlanc’s attackers.
One 19-year-old woman who recanted identifications of three of LeBlanc’s assailants began crying on the witness stand this afternoon when a prosecutor asked her if she feared retaliation.
Three of the witnesses to testify today described text messages they received from Haro after LeBlanc’s killing. In the messages, Haro used racial slurs to describe LeBlanc, who was black, and in one message said, “We killed the fool.”
Testimony in the hearing is set to resume Wednesday morning.