Judgment Day

Page 10 of 17

Over the course of her career, how often had she called a caseworker to have someone "taken off the streets?" Sargent asks.

"This was the second time."
"Do you scare easily?"
"Not after nineteen years," Pike replies.
"Did Mr. Martinez scare you?"
"Yes, he did."

On cross-examination, Kaplan notes that Pike didn't write on her report that she felt Francisco was "homicidal."

"I stated he was very dangerous," says Pike, who looks at Kaplan with what appears to be distaste.

"Right," Kaplan says, ignoring her hostility, "but not 'homicidal.'"
"I thought he was homicidal," she says.
Kaplan also observes that she never wrote anything down about "Psycho Pancho."

As Pike shrugs, Kaplan points out that according to her reports, Francisco got good marks for participation and cooperation in the group session. The caseworker's report noted that Pike had suggested Francisco get intensive individualized counseling, as well as continue in group therapy.

"I do not agree with the statement," Pike sniffs.
"He never got physically aggressive with you or anybody in the group," Kaplan says.

"No, he did not," she admits.
On redirect, Sargent asks if there was a reason she specifically remembers the nickname incident.

"Yes," Pike says and smiles. "I was surprised he knew that 'psycho' started with a 'P.'"

Another witness, a Denver police detective, recalls how Francisco and other members of his gang robbed two younger boys. Francisco, he says, was the first to pull a gun. A second detective testifies about a case concerning Francisco and a friend robbing two men of a keg of beer.

Then witnesses are called to testify about a May 1, 1997, shooting incident in which Francisco was the main suspect. Francisco's father-in-law, a man named Chico, had discovered that Francisco was carrying on an affair with his niece, Gina Ynostrosa, the first cousin of his daughter, Nicole.

According to testimony, Francisco had persuaded Chico's nephew, Toby Archuleta, to accompany him to Chico's home. There they were told by a roommate, Pedro Medina, that Chico wasn't home, and they left.

A short time later, someone came and shot Medina from behind in the left shoulder and lower back. Medina now tells the judges he never got a good look at the person who shot him.

But the police believed it was Francisco, who went on the run. By the end of the month, Brandy DuVall was dead.

During a break in the testimony, a catfight erupts on the defense side of the spectator section. There have been two camps of Francisco supporters over there: his family and a couple of girlfriends who have borne him children in one; his wife, Nicole, and her mother in another.

Nicole and one of the girlfriends get into it when the latter asks, "What you lookin' at, bitch?" George Anders, a retired bailiff who occasionally works when needed, has to separate them.

The deputies who provide court security request the women's presence in the hallway. There they lodge complaints against each other. One had slashed the other's tires. The other was giving dirty looks.

Nicole produces paperwork for a restraining order against the other woman. The wrong girlfriend's name is on the papers.

Villano is apprised of the situation, and he sternly warns the women to sit apart and not so much as glance in each other's direction. Otherwise, he says, they will be ejected from the courtroom for the rest of the hearing.

Gina Ynostrosa is called to the stand. She seems an unlikely candidate for an affair with a gang member. A pretty girl, she is studying criminal justice in college. Her father, now deceased, was a state trooper; one brother is currently a state trooper, and another is in the police academy.

She says a male cousin introduced her to Francisco--who was going by the first name of "Leroy"--in 1996. At the time, she didn't even know he was living in a halfway house; it wasn't until long after they'd become lovers that she realized who he really was: the husband of her cousin Nicole.

When she confronted Francisco, she says, he denied it at first. She stopped seeing him, but Francisco was persistent, and they resumed their relationship in January 1997.

In response to questioning by Randall, Gina testifies that Francisco was "very close" to his mother, who had a huge photograph of him on one wall and smaller photos of her son on the other walls. He'd never confided anything about any childhood traumas, she says.

She knew he was a gang member. For one thing, he had tattoos proclaiming that fact all over his body. But he didn't bring the gang over or use gang lingo around her. In fact, he became something of a school project for her...firsthand insight into a street criminal.

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Steve Jackson