Victims From One Bullet - The Timothy Fonseca Story
by Karyse Philips, JD Editor
magazine, Issue 27, Winter 2005, page 12
the early morning hours of April 23, 1995, Los Angeles Police Officers
Marroquin and Anderson, were working patrol car 11Z1 in the vicinity of
Echo Park Avenue and Scott Avenue. At approximately 3:45am a call was
broadcast of a shooting in progress at 1933 Scott Avenue and they
responded. They arrived on the scene within a minute and observed no
unusual activity whatsoever. There was no pedestrian traffic and no
vehicles were leaving the scene. Sergeant O’Neil met them at
the scene in patrol car 116Z0; he had been in the vicinity of Glendale
Boulevard and Alessandro Street when the call was broadcast. Officers
Marroquin, Anderson, and Sergeant O’Neil did not hear any
shots being fired.
As these officers communicated with each other on Scott Avenue and
Lake Shore Street, a citizen drove east bound on Scott Ave. from
Glendale Boulevard and stopped next to them. The citizen informed the
trio that a man had been shot on Glendale Blvd. The officers asked the
citizen “Where on Glendale?” and the unknown
citizen replied, “In front of
McDonald’s.” All the officers immediately responded
to the location.
Upon reaching the location on Glendale Boulevard in front of
McDonald’s they observed a black van on the south-bound lanes
of Glendale Boulevard on the street next to the curb. The officers
pulled in approximately 50' behind the vehicle. Observing that most of
the windows had been shot out, officers Anderson and Marroquin
approached the van on foot with guns drawn. As Marroquin approached the
driver’s side, he observed a male Hispanic sitting in the
drivers seat leaning over towards the front passenger seat. He could
see that he had an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head near
the neck; he was still breathing, but with difficulty. The officer
immediately requested an additional unit to respond to the location
for the crime scene.
As the officer was requesting additional units to respond to the scene,
another citizen who resides on Glendale Boulevard directly across from
the McDonald’s, came out of the residence and waived at
Officer Marroquin. The officer crossed the street to investigate. That
citizen informed him that a woman wearing a black dress had been in the
street screaming for help. The officers had not seen her anywhere in
the area. When asked whether he had heard the shooting, the citizen
stated the he heard the shooting and saw the van come to a stop there
with the woman in the black dress running out of it.
While speaking to this citizen, the officer observed the female come
running out of the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot. She was
screaming for help. The officers approached her and could hear her
screaming, “Those f***en’ cholos! They shot my
husband!” They tried to calm her down, but she was
hysterical. The woman provided the police with a partial description
of the shooter as a male Hispanic, “cholo” type,
wearing a green plaid shirt. She stated that they shot them at the gas
station at Scott Avenue and Glendale Blvd.. She stated that the
suspects ran in an eastbound direction on Scott Ave. from Glendale
Boulevard and possibly northbound on Liberty St.
As Officer Marroquin was gathering this information, Sergeant
O’Neil stated that the radio was broadcasting that the
shooting suspects possibly had ran into 1933 Scott Avenue. They then
formulated a response team and went to that location, deployed on it
and knocked on the door. Getting no answer, they then deployed on the
Officer Marroquin subsequently transported the woman to the
LAPD’s Northeast Station. The woman stated that she and her
husband were returning home when they decided to buy cigarettes at the
Mobil gas station located at the intersection of Glendale Blvd. and
Scott Ave. She further stated that while her husband in the store she
was in the vehicle, that was parked on Glendale Blvd. facing northbound
toward Scott Ave. She observed two male Hispanics in a vehicle in the
middle of the street begin to shoot at several men near the van. She
said one of those men had brown hair, was approximately 5'7" to 5'8"
tall, and was wearing a plaid shirt. She also said the men in the
vehicle continued shooting in the direction of their van while they
traveled southbound on Glendale Blvd. Arthur Mayer, the driver of the
van, was struck and killed by one of the shots fired during this gun
battle between rival gangs. She then began screaming for help and
minutes later the police arrived.
I was accused, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for
this crime. The problem is that I am innocent.
The evidence that was gathered in this case - like the fingerprints on
the alleged murder weapon that do not match mine – was not
used to prove my innocence. At the same time the officers involved gave
testimony that twisted the evidence to make me appear guilty, and the
testimony of witnesses was manipulated by these same officers. The
result is I was convicted. How can this be, you may ask? Well, let me
tell you just how.
Only a few hours after the crime was committed, neighbors of 1933
Scott Avenue (the residence of the suspects), a Ms. Stuart and Mr.
Preston were brought down to the Northeast station to give statements
about what they saw and/or heard. According to the Chronological
Record, they were interviewed at 0740 on April 23, 1995. In this
report, it is not reflected that she tells the police that she heard
any names being yelled out into the night.
Yet the “field” notes of the detectives who
performed those interviews indicate that Ms. Stuart states that she
heard a few names, one of which was “Sniper.” The
problem is that the date on this so-called ‘field”
report is dated April 28, 1995 - five days after this alleged interview
took place. According to the transcripts of my trial, Ms. Stuart was
not contacted again until the trial a year and half later. Do you know
what happened? She is summoned to court and as soon as she walks
through the door the district attorney hands her these bogus notes and
advises her to refresh her memory concerning her statement. She then
proceeds to testify to it without even thinking that perhaps her
statement was changed—not bothering to look at the fact that
the statement she is reviewing does not have her signature and is dated
five days after she was interviewed!
At midnight on April 23, 1995, detectives threatened a young juvenile
gang member by the name of “Evil” to come down to
the Northeast station. In this interview, according to the officers,
Daniel (AKA Evil) says he was there, but had nothing to do with the
murder and that “Sniper did it.” That is when the
detectives began molding the evidence and information to fit me.
On April 28, 2003, Roxanne (victim/witness) came to the Northeast
station to view a photo 6-pack of possible suspects. Initially she
chose picture #2 (which was not me), but commented that the guy in #3
looked similar. I was the person in picture #3. Based on that
information the detectives had me arrested for first degree murder, but
the LA District Attorney subsequently dismissed it for lack of evidence.
During the investigation, the detectives learned that there were
numerous gang members at 1933 Scott Avenue, where the shooting was
initiated. It was the residence of two brothers (known gang members)
who were involved in the shooting that resulted in the death of Arthur
Mayer. One of these brothers was even shot in the exchange of gunfire.
Upon searching the residence of 1933 Scott Avenue numerous weapons and
live ammo were found inside the dwelling and hidden under bushes in the
back yard. One of the four weapons that they found turned out to be the
alleged murder weapon, an SKS Assault Rifle. None of the gang members
present at the time of the murder was charged with the crime. Not even
the people living at the house where these weapons were discovered was
Fingerprints were found on the alleged murder weapon, the SKS
– but they did not match my fingerprints.
On June 29, 1995, the LAPD obtained a warrant to force me to subject
myself to a live lineup. I was not made aware that prior to the lineup
that the witness was exposed to my picture. The initial choice (picture
#2) from the photo 6-pack was not in my live lineup. Therefore, she
mistakenly went with the face that looked familiar – mine -
which she testified to during the trial.
What more can I say? A lot! What I’ve shared with you here is
only the highlights of my situation. It is hard not to be angry and not
to preach about how I’ve been wronged. I did not murder
Arthur Mayer. The true perpetrator of this crime roams free amongst you
as I live out my life in prison. The bullet fired on April 23, 1995
that quickly killed Arthur Mayer is more slowly killing me, as I spend
my life in prison for a crime I had nothing to do with.
Thank you for reading the story of my plight. You can write me at:
Timothy Fonseca J-27755
Pleasant Valley State Prison A2-233
PO Box 8501
Coalinga, CA 93210
My outside contact is my wife Lynn Fonseca,
Or my sister-in-law, Mollie Doria, email: firstname.lastname@example.org