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clayfilms
07-24-2008, 12:00 PM
Shot dead for giving teen a dirty look?
Alleged killer didn't even know victim, 16

By JULIE SHAW
Philadelphia Daily News

shawj@phillynews.com 215-854-2592
It was just another senseless shooting in the city in which an innocent 16-year-old boy got killed, authorities said.

And a 17-year-old boy is being held for trial on murder charges.

Defendant David Ramirez, a thin teen with a shock of brown, curly hair, sat in court at his preliminary hearing yesterday, looking pale and solemn. He is accused of fatally shooting Mark Anthony Rivera on Feb. 23 in North Philadelphia - all because he thought Rivera had given him a dirty look.

The two didn't know each other. Rivera's family had moved to Venango Street near 7th just three weeks before the shooting. They have since moved away.

The victim's mother said after the hearing that she has heard that Ramirez was trying to sell her son marijuana, and after her son refused, an argument ensued and he was shot.

But authorities say they don't have evidence pointing to marijuana as being part of the dispute.

In court, Municipal Judge James M. DeLeon held Ramirez, of 8th Street near Tioga, for trial on murder and weapons charges.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax said that Rivera was shot three times - in the chest, neck and left forearm, and was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital at 12:45 p.m. that day.

Witness Felix Herrera, the defendant's sister's boyfriend, testified that he was standing next to Ramirez when Ramirez shot the victim - whom Herrera didn't know and referred to as "the boy."

Herrera said he was at home around noon when Ramirez came over and asked if he knew "the boy" standing outside. "He's looking all bad at me and s---. Come out to see if you know him," Herrera quoted Ramirez as saying.

At 7th and Venango streets, Ramirez then allegedly said to Rivera: "What's your problem? You're looking all bad, boy," Herrera quoted him as saying.

Herrera said "the boy" said something back, then he heard four or five shots. Under questioning by Sax, Herrera admitted that it was "well, David," who had fired the shots.

Under cross-examination by public defender Fred Goodman, Herrera agreed that he first told police he wasn't at the shooting scene and only fessed up when police said they had him on a video.

Herrera said the video shows him standing next to Ramirez, and at some point shows Ramirez with a gun in his hand, shooting.

The prosecutor said after the hearing that the video was from a corner store at 7th and Venango.

Goodman tried to suggest in his questioning that his client may have thought Rivera was reaching for something in his pocket and thought Rivera was going to kill him. He mentioned problems that Ramirez's family had had with other people in the neighborhood.

Ramirez's father, Teddy Ramirez, now 57, is accused of killing Ramon Olivo, 30, who lived in the neighborhood, on Nov. 24.

Herrera said that David Ramirez had problems with others in the neighborhood but that the two of them confronted Rivera that day just "to see if I knew him" and because Ramirez wanted to ask Rivera why he was staring at him.

After hearing Herrera's testimony, Judge DeLeon announced, "I've heard enough," and told the prosecutor he didn't need to call two other witnesses.

Sax said after the hearing that one of the other witnesses, Merbi Valerio, owner of the store at 7th and Venango, had told police that he had seen Ramirez shoot the victim. The other witness, Jesus Padilla, 59, has told police that he saw Ramirez with a gun in his hand but did not see the shooting.

Mirta Rodriguez, the victim's mother, said outside court that her son hadn't threatened the defendant in any way: "My son had a Pepsi in his pocket. That was his purpose for going to the store - to get a Pepsi. . . . My son had no intentions on hurting nobody."

She said that Ramirez typically sold drugs at 7th and Venango. Witnesses on the street that day told her that Ramirez had offered her son marijuana but that her son replied, "I don't want that s---." Her son didn't take drugs, she said.

Authorities yesterday, however, said they don't have evidence linking marijuana to the shooting. Police Homicide Detective Angela Gaines said: "That didn't come up in our investigation."

Prosecutor Sax said that this was "just one of those unbelievably senseless, motiveless [crimes]. . . . There truly is no known evidentiary motive involved other than what the defendant said - 'Why is this guy looking at me?' " *

albraggs
07-24-2008, 01:53 PM
very sad, i hear many stories similar to these. will pray.