By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
A trial began Thursday for the first of three teenagers suspected of severely beaten another teen in an act of alleged gang violence.
Ruben Rosales-Mezar, 19, is accused of helping David Rivera, 17, and Donovan Ball, 18, attack Sergio Torres, 15 at the time, with a baseball bat on June 27. Torres was found beaten and bloody in the 600 block of East 27th Street.
The three suspects are originally from Chicago, and are alleged to be involved in the Latin Kings gang syndicate. Each face charges of attempted murder and gang activity. The other two trials are scheduled in April.
Deputy prosecutor Rosemary Khoury started the trial in Circuit Court 3 by calling 13 witnesses to the stand, including officers involved in the original investigation and doctors and nurses that cared for Torres’ injuries, establishing the violent and life-threatening nature of the teen’s injury at the time. At least 24 witnesses are expected to be called to testify over the course of the trial.
The highlight of the proceedings came when Ball, who was subpoenaed to testify by prosecutors, repeatedly refused to answer questions. Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Ball was offered immunity in his own case if he testified against Rosales-Mezar.
“It makes the case harder [since Ball refused], but he’s going to jail regardless,” Cummings said.
Rosales-Mezar’s attorney, John Razumich, said prosecutors are doing the best with what they have, but he said he’s confident they don’t have enough evidence to prove either charge.
“I don’t think the state will be able to prove the essentials in this case,” Razumich said. “I don’t think they even have enough to place Ruben there. It seems everyone claiming he’s in a gang is getting that information second- or third-hand.”
Razumich said Rosales-Mezar’s spirits are high, and he’s confident in a charge of not guilty.
“I think Ruben will walk out of that courtroom as innocent as when he stepped in,” Razumich said.
Another pivotal moment was when Khoury passed around a stack of pictures taken of Torres and his injuries after the attack to jury members. Several people in the courtroom looked away from the gory snapshots.
Anderson Police Department Sgt. Bill Casey, who was one of the first officers on the scene of the attack, said APD was aware of the suspect’s gang activity before the attack. He said he thinks it was the result of a gang war between the Latin Kings and Surenos 13, a gang believed to have come from Florida.
“We were getting called out to respond to various incidents for about three or four months leading up to the attack,” Casey said.
Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.