Dealing with the Devil

The Deuce-Seven Bloods spin out of control, ripping families apart--including their own.

That thought brings on a wave of guilt. Theresa thinks all the time about the murdered girl and what her mother must be going through. She even feels ashamed for hoping that the state won't kill her son after what happened to Brandy.

If only Danny hadn't run...twice. "Danny isn't prison material. He won't make it," Antonio had warned her after the 1995 drug bust. Danny has always hated being cooped up. Her elder son had never spent more than a few hours in jail; he'd had no convictions on his record. Theresa fought to keep Danny out of jail after that drug arrest, had even made a personal appeal to the judge to let Danny serve his sentence at Cenikor, a treatment program. She thought the worst of Danny's problems were related to his drinking.

While Danny was in jail awaiting trial on the drug charge, two members of the Deuce-Seven Bloods, Sammy Quintana and Alejandro "Speed" Ornelas, had gone looking for a fellow Blood, Salvino Martinez. They believed that Salvino had turned in Danny and Antonio on the drug deal. In July 1996, Sammy and Alejandro poured nineteen rounds of high-velocity rifle bullets into an apartment where they thought Salvino was visiting. But he had already left: They killed nineteen-year-old Venus Montoya instead.

The police believed that Danny was the leader of the Deuce-Seven and must have ordered the hit. "It didn't make no sense," Theresa remembers. "He was waiting for sentencing, hoping everybody would stay cool so that I could work out the Cenikor deal. That was the last thing he needed."

But if Danny wasn't guilty of the crime (and charges were never formally filed), neither was he honest with her about what he knew. "He told me that he didn't have anything to do with it and didn't know who did," Theresa says.

So she'd had no clue that Sammy, her sister's son who she saw with his baby daughter in church every Sunday, was a killer. "He knew Danny would never tell on him," she says. The family ties were stronger than ever: The mother of Sammy's child and the mother of Danny's twin boys are sisters.

On December 30, 1996, Theresa won, and Danny was sentenced to Cenikor. Again, Antonio warned her that his brother didn't have the discipline necessary. And he was right. Danny, upset that he wasn't allowed to use the telephone, walked away from the program the next day.

In the hallway of the Jefferson County courthouse, Theresa begins to cry. She should have let Danny go to prison. If he was in prison, none of the rest of this tragedy would have happened...at least not this way to that little girl.

After Danny left Cenikor, Theresa had her telephone disconnected so that he couldn't call her. "I felt that after everything I had done, he had turned around and stabbed me in the back," she says. Fighting for control of her tears, she grows angry.

"Danny is not the victim here. He had his chances, just like Antonio," she says. "He could have stayed in college. He could have given up the gang life. He could have stayed at Cenikor.

"He chose to mess up his life. That little girl did not choose what happened to her."

The Deuce-Seven was in a downward spiral. The violence, the way they viewed women as "bitches and ho's," all the antisocial values of gangsta rap were dragging them down. Venus Montoya was just unlucky enough to have been in their path.

As was a fourteen-year-old girl a year later. While on the run from Cenikor, Danny lived at least part of the time with his uncle, Jose Martinez, his father's brother, at a house in Adams County. 3165 Hawthorne. It was a house where the gang got together to party.

It was the house where they brought Brandy DuVall on the night of May 30, 1997.

"The People call Angela Metzger."
For the second time in a year, Brandy's mother rises from her seat in the spectator gallery and goes to stand before Judge Michael Villano. She's again wearing a black dress. She ignores the husky young man with the brooding features at the defense table: Twenty-four-year-old Francisco "Pancho" Martinez.

Before the jury was brought in, defense attorney Pat Ridley had asked the judge not to let Angela sit with her family until after she appeared on the stand. The defense didn't want the emotional impact that would have on the jurors. "We'd ask that Mrs. Metzger, like all other witnesses, wait outside."

Prosecutor Mark Randall labeled the request "silly...They're going to see her sitting there for the next two weeks." The judge denied Ridley's request, the jurors were brought in, the opening arguments presented, and Angela was called to the stand.

Brandy's mother looks like she's caught in a recurring bad dream. Randall again yanks tears from her by asking that she identify Brandy in a photograph--a shot of her daughter hamming it up at Continuation, the ceremony marking her passage from middle school to high school--and then Brandy's jewelry. The "B" necklace. The engagement ring Angela's first husband had given her. Another ring with the letter "L," for the nickname Brandy had given herself. Logic.

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