Latino Gang Family Threatens Jurors After Guilty Verdict
Jurors who had just convicted a gang member of murdering a 16-year-old boy were confronted outside the Riverside courthouse Thursday by the defendant’s angry relatives, who shouted threats and punched one juror, sheriff’s officials said.
Two family members and a friend of the defendant were arrested. The juror who was hit, a 47-year-old man, did not require medical attention.
Thomas Cahraman, presiding judge of Riverside County Superior Court, said Friday that the attack is under investigation and that juror security will be stepped up.
He said people should not be fearful about serving as jurors. The judge said he could not recall another physical confrontation between jurors and a defendant’s family in his 33 years at the court.
“The fact that it’s rare does not take away from the fact that it happened, and we’ll be devoting resources to see it never happens again,” Cahraman said.
The jurors had found Andres Muñoz guilty of first-degree murder for the 2006 shooting of Derek Ochoa, 16, in a case involving gang rivalry in Riverside’s La Sierra neighborhood.
Joaquina Munoz, left, and Arely Munoz, center, were arrested on suspicion of accosting jurors who had just convicted Andres Munoz, right, of murder