Marine Murder Trial Underway
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
INDIO- A jury heard opening statements today in the trial of the man accused
of killing a Desert Hot Springs Marine.
Emilio Avalos is accused of putting two bullets in Marine Corporal Henry
Lozano's head in 2001. Prosecutors say the motive is jealousy - the Marine was dating Avalos' ex-girlfriend.
Avalos is also being accused of a gang-related 1994 shooting that left
17-year-old Jahi Collins dead. Avalos was arrested for the 2001 murder in 2006. He was later charged with the 1994 murder.
Collins' family says they've waited nearly 20 years for this day.
"I feel like now Jahid is getting justice. He's not just another black boy dead," said Glenda Collins.
The defense gave their opening remarks, making the case to the jury that law enforcement took so long to arrest Avalos because the evidence doesn't point to him.
The defense also told the jury that the prosecution's witness in the 1994 murder is a convict, and only identifying Avalos as the shooter for leniency in prison.
According to prosecutors, Avalos founded the Desert Hot Springs gang West Drive Locos. Following Avalos' arrest the gang was a target in Operation Falling Sun- a gang sweep that netted hundreds of arrests.
If found guilty, Avalos could face the death penalty.
Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News