Trial begins in slaying of Pasadena teen

PASADENA — Trial began Wednesday for two men suspected of fatally shooting a Pasadena teenager just over two years ago,
Prosecutors allege Kamaron Walker, 29, of Duarte and Eric Williams, 32, of Altadena shot 17-year-old John Muir High School student Dion Holloway to death as he walked in the 1700 block of Belmont Avenue in Pasadena on Sept. 25, 2007.
Both are charged with first-degree murder, with the special allegation of committing the crime for the benefit of a street gang.
A third suspect, John Villatoro, 24, of Altadena, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty last month to being an accessory, prosecutor Shelley Dominguez said. Villatoro is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 12, court officials said.
Holloway’s mother, Vanessa Shepherd, said she is still devastated by the loss of her son.
“I’m glad it’s come to this point,” she said of the trial. “It’s been a long wait.”
Authorities said Holloway did not have gang ties but allege that the suspects do. Holloway may have been targeted because he was walking through gang territory, investigators have said.
In court Wednesday, Pasadena police Detective Keith Gomez testified that tattoos on Walker’s shoulders reading “Altadena” and “ABC” signified the Altadena Block Crips street gang.
Walker’s defense attorney Felipe De La Torre asked the detective how long ago his client got those tattoos, but the detective responded he didn’t know.
The attorney also pointed out that in the detective’s nine years with the Pasadena Police Department, he’d never before encountered Walker.
Adrienne Devine testified she was in her car when she heard five or six gunshot ring out. She said she then saw a dark-colored SUV drive away.
Though she could not see the occupants of the SUV or a license plate, she said the SUV was similar to the one Williams and Villatoro were riding in when they were arrested.
In response to defense attorneys’ questions, she added she heard squealing tires, but the SUV did not appear to be driving especially fast. Devine said she drove her car slowly toward the shooting scene when she saw Holloway.
“I looked at a young man laying in the street in a pool of blood,” she said. “He was dead.”
Under cross-examination from Williams’ defense attorney, Mark Carrillo, Pasadena police Detective Cuong Pham said he only showed Devine a picture of the suspect’s SUV during interviews and no other vehicles.
Carrillo also had investigators explain that there were about 10 people near the body just after the shooting, and some spent bullet casings were kicked and moved by them.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Marcos De La Riva testified he spotted a black Ford Explorer containing Williams and Villatoro driving at high speed less than three hours after the shooting.
He said he detained Williams and Villatoro after the SUV came to a stop in front of Villatoro’s home in Altadena. Williams was driving.
Holloway was a junior at John Muir High School, his parents said, where he played football and ran track.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Walker is being held on $2.1 million bail; Williams is being held on $2.2 million bail.
The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday with more witness testimony.

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