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Thread: Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana - Federal Death Row

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    Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana - Federal Death Row




    Facts of the Crime:

    On July 27, 2010, MS-13 gang member Alejandro Umana was found guilty and sentenced to death for the killing of two brothers in a Greensboro restaurant back in 2007.

    Alejandro Umana had been arrested in 2008 in a roundup of suspected gang members. Police said he had shot and killed Reuben and Manuel Salinas following an altercation in a Greensboro restaurant.

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    April 12, 2010

    Murder trial begins for suspected MS-13 gang member

    The murder trial for a suspected MS-13 gang member began Monday in federal court.

    Alejandro Umana is charged in connection with the deaths of two brothers, and also faces racketeering charges. Greensboro police say Umana shot Manuel Salinas, Reuben Salinas and a third man at a restaurant on High Point Road in 2007.

    The prosecution called half a dozen witnesses, five of which were Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers to talk about gang graffiti. The other was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department who has expertise working on cases involving MS-13.

    The experts’ testimony is being used to lay the groundwork in the trail against the man knows as “The Wizard.” Umana was arrested in a roundup of suspected MS-13 members in 2008.

    Earlier this year, six MS-13 members were found guilty in federal court on a variety of charges including racketeering, robbery, witness intimidation and murder.

    In opening statements, the prosecution said that evening was disrupted by “fear and chaos” because Umana felt he was being disrespected.

    The case, the defense argued, is only in federal court because Umana is charged with murder in the aid of racketeering and using a firearm to commit murder in the aid of racketeering. Umana’s attorneys didn’t deny his role in the incident but argued that his actions were not to further gang activity and therefore he should be found not guilty

    The government is seeking the death penalty against Umana. The U.S. Attorneys Office says this is the first capital murder case tried in the western district in about a decade.

    http://news14.com/charlotte-news-104-content/local_news/624407/murder-trial-begins-for-suspected-ms-13-gang-member

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    April 13, 2010

    Trial details gunfire and 2 killings

    Jury hears conflicting accounts as trial opens for man believed to have MS-13 gang ties.

    By Gary L. Wright
    The Charlotte Observer

    A federal prosecutor described in court Monday the chaotic scene at a family restaurant in Greensboro when gunfire erupted in 2007 and two brothers were shot to death.

    "People were diving under booths. It was fear and chaos," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose told jurors. "Ruben and Manuel Salinas died on the cold tile floor a few weeks before Christmas."

    One of the brothers was shot in the head; the other in the chest, Rose said.

    Alejandro Umana, suspected of being an MS-13 gang member, is charged with the killings. Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty, say Umana committed the murders to maintain MS-13's reputation and advance his position within the gang.

    But defense lawyer Mark Foster told jurors that the Salinas brothers had not been targeted by MS-13. And he reminded them as the trial got under way at the federal courthouse in Charlotte that his client is presumed innocent.

    "There was no gang out to kill the Salinas brothers," Foster told jurors.

    Umana, 25, is one of 26 suspected MS-13 gang members indicted in Charlotte in 2008 and charged with crimes ranging from murder and extortion to racketeering conspiracy and robbery.

    Umana also is charged with conspiring to extort money from Charlotte drug dealers and of conspiring to intimidate witnesses.

    During opening statements Monday, Rose told jurors they would get a glimpse into the violent lifestyle of MS-13 gang members. She said Umana's gang name is "Wizard."

    "We're here because Ruben and Manuel Salinas died in that restaurant," the prosecutor said. "We're here because MS-13 has established itself in the Charlotte area."

    She described the gang as a criminal enterprise that is well-organized with rules, procedures, colors and a system of meting out punishment.

    "The ultimate punishment is green light - the order to kill on sight," the prosecutor told jurors.

    "There is no legitimate purpose for MS-13 except to enrich itself through theft, extortion, robbery and drug dealing."

    Umana's lawyer told jurors the Salinas brothers' killings had nothing to do with MS-13 business.

    "There was no green light," Foster said. "No one was out to kill the Salinas brothers."

    The defense lawyer said two groups of Hispanic males at the restaurant that night got into an argument over what kind of music was being played on the jukebox. There were angry words, he said.

    "Someone picked up a gun and killed the Salinas brothers," he said.

    Foster told jurors that there have been inconsistencies in identifications of the gunman.

    "The evidence will show that the Salinas brothers were not killed to further anyone's position in the gang," Foster said.

    Eighteen of the 26 suspected MS-13 gang members indicted in Charlotte in 2008 have pleaded guilty. Six gang members were convicted in January on charges involving violence and conspiracy. One was convicted of murder in connection with the April 2008 slaying of Ullisses Alejandro Mayo. He was shot to death in Charlotte while sitting in a car after a child's birthday party.

    Twenty-five of the defendants were arrested by U.S. authorities. One is jailed in El Salvador and can't be extradited.

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/04/13/1373220/trial-details-gunfire-and-2-killings.html

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    April 19, 2010

    Gang member found guilty in double murder case

    CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After deliberating for nearly eight hours in the case of a MS-13 gang member accused of murdering two people, a jury reached a guilty verdict late Monday afternoon.

    Alejandro Umana was found guilty of all charges in a federal courtroom in Charlotte Monday afternoon.

    The trial lasted for two weeks. The jury started deliberations in the case late Friday afternoon.

    The jurors resumed deliberations for Monday morning before announcing a verdict in the case around 3:30 pm.

    Umana was on trial for murdering two brothers in the name of the MS-13 gang.

    Last week, Umana caused a major disruption in court when he flashed gang signs at a former gang member who testified against him.

    Umana is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador. When he first entered the United States, he went to California. From there, he eventually traveled to North Carolina.

    Sources tell WBTV that Umana was sent by top leaders of the MS-13 gang to Greensboro and Charlotte to ensure the gang's presence in those cities was operating as it should.

    Now that he has been found guilty, the sentencing phase is underway. The same jury will decide his punishment. Umana could receive the death penalty.

    http://www.wbtv.com/global/story.asp?s=12334841

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    April 29, 2010

    MS-13 member gets death for murder of 2 brothers

    CHARLOTTE -- A federal jury gave an MS-13 gang member the death penalty. The sentence came in late Wednesday afternoon.

    Alejandro Umana was found guilty last week of killing two brothers in a greensboro restaurant back in 2007.

    After a day of deliberating, the jury recommended the gang member get the death penalty. This was a unanimous decision.

    Umana showed no emotion as the jury’s recommendation was handed down. Umana’s attorney made the procedural decision to poll the jury. When asked, each juror said yes that is still their decision.

    Alejandro Umana was arrested in 2008 in a roundup of suspected gang members. Police said he shot and killed Reuben and Manuel Salinas following an altercation in a Greensboro restaurant.

    http://news14.com/charlotte-news-104-content/local_news/625160/ms-13-member-gets-death-penalty

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    July 27, 2010

    MS-13 member to receive death penalty

    An MS-13 gang member will receive the death penalty for his crimes.

    A judge officially entered the sentence for 25-year-old Alejandro Umana Tuesday morning in federal court in Charlotte.

    Umana smiled and flashed gang signs while being escorted into the courthouse. The jury recommended the death penalty for Umana in April after finding him guilty of killing two brothers in a Greensboro restaurant.

    He was arrested in 2008 during a roundup of more than two dozen suspected MS-13 gang members.

    http://charlotte.news14.com/content/local_news/triad/628553/ms-13-member-to-receive-death-penalty

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    Death To Gang Members: The Feds' New Tactic

    Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana is the first member of the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang to be sentenced to the federal death penalty. Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana has an unfortunate claim on history. He is the first member of the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang to be sentenced to death under the federal system of capital punishment, according to the Justice Department.

    Prosecutors and FBI officials say the Umana investigation, which took them from North Carolina to California to El Salvador, is a model for how federal authorities will attack a growing gang threat that is leaching into smaller cities across America's heartland.

    Umana is only 25. But over the course of his relatively short life, he allegedly killed five people in his role as a traveling evangelist for the MS-13 gang.

    For the past few months, Umana has been living on federal death row in Indiana. Federal prosecutor Jill Rose helped put him there. "He murdered 2 men in a very busy restaurant in Greensboro, N.C., on a Saturday night. It was a few weeks before Christmas. He and some other gang members were having dinner in this restaurant," Rose says.

    2 brothers who did not belong to a gang were eating nearby. They exchanged words with Umana. Then, Rose says, things went south.

    "Mr. Umana stood up, pulled a Ruger 45 semi-automatic pistol out of his waist and blasted away there in the middle of this busy restaurant. He killed our 2 victims, continued to shoot as he backed out of the restaurant," Rose says.

    Police captured Umana a few days later and arrested him on state charges in North Carolina. His lawyers say there was even a deal on the table: plead guilty to the state charges and serve life in prison.

    "You know, here's a guy who probably, if the normal state prosecution had proceeded, he probably would have been locked up for a significant period of time if not the rest of his life," says John Bryson, who defended Umana.

    Enter The Feds

    But then the federal authorities entered the picture, taking over the state case and finding 3 other murders Umana allegedly committed.
    Federal authorities have turned the investigation into a model for their strategy: to build bigger national prosecutions of gangs, to work with investigators across the U.S. and Central America, and to sometimes ask a jury to vote for capital punishment.

    Aaron Escorza leads the FBI's national task force against the Mara Salvatrucha gang. He says that MS-13 is one of the most violent gangs in the U.S., with 10,000 members in more than 40 states. "[Umana's] was probably one of the most significant MS-13 cases on the books for the FBI. More than anything we really used that investigation as the model for the way these transnational gang cases should be worked," Escorza says.

    Budding Problems

    The FBI says international street gangs like MS-13 are moving into heartland cities that may not have much experience prosecuting them, which makes federal help in investigating all the more important.

    "As you get across the country and realize that places like Charlotte and Nashville and Greenbelt, Md., have the same budding gang problems that larger cities have had, you realize there's a need to team up and share the sort of experience that we're gathering here in Washington with folks that might benefit from it on the road," says Jim Trusty, who leads the Justice Department's gang unit.

    Trusty and his team are going on the road and working with counterparts in Central America. The Justice Department recently merged 2 separate teams to devote more resources to the surge in gang activity.

    According to Lanny Breuer, who leads the Justice Department's criminal division, an expert in capital punishment is also on the newly merged team. "There will be cases with respect to gangs at times where we will seek that ultimate punishment, where the facts and the crime are so egregious and deserving [of] it," Breuer says.

    A Matter Of Prestige?

    Martin Sabelli, a lawyer in California with extensive experience defending MS-13 cases, says taking gang cases like Umana's to the federal level and asking for the death penalty sound like a stretch.

    "In this case, you've got a kid who's essentially convicted for what could have been really characterized as a street crime not associated with [MS-13]. The only theory tying it to the gang is that the fact of committing a murder is allegedly something that gains the defendant some sort of prestige or some sort of rank in the organization," Sabelli says.

    Prestige matters to Umana. Like many MS-13 members, he is covered with tattoos. As the trial went along this year, prosecutor Jill Rose says Umana flashed gang signs to intimidate witnesses and tried to smuggle a sharp piece of metal into the courtroom.

    "He was defiant from the beginning to the end. [For his] final words to the judge when the death penalty was being imposed ... he thumped his fist over his heart and said, 'And as for the rest, Mara Salvatrucha,' " Rose says.

    Umana, a citizen of El Salvador, is beginning to work on his death penalty appeal and waiting to get new lawyers to help with a process that could take years to resolve.

    (Source: National Public Radio)

  8. #8
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    On January 28, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear oral argument in Umana's direct appeal.

    http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/calendar/01282014.htm

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    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v ALEJANDRO ENRIQUE RAMIREZ UMAA, a/k/a Wizard, a/k/a Lobo,

    In today's Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinions, the court AFFIRMED Umana's conviction and sentence of death.

    Umaa has presented numerous issues in challenging his conviction and sentence, each of which has been fully presented in his fulsome brief and at oral arguments to the court. After having carefully considered each of his arguments, as well as the record in this case, we conclude that Umaa had a fair trial and that the death penalty was justified by the jury’s factual findings and by law and was not imposed under the improper influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor. Accordingly, we affirm his conviction and sentence.

    Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., District Judge. (3:08-cr-00134-RJC-2)

    Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote the majority opinion, in which Judge Agee joined. Judge Gregory wrote a dissenting opinion.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    On August 12, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit DENIED Umana's petition for en banc rehearing. The vote was eight to five.

    http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions...ed/106R1.P.pdf

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