Two Victims From One Bullet - The Timothy Fonseca Story

By Timothy Fonseca

Edited by Karyse Philips, JD Editor

Justice:Denied magazine, Issue 27, Winter 2005, page 12

In 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 perimeter.

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 charged.

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: