Negrete’s old testimony alleges inaccuracies in witness stories, including other gang members
Latin King gang members who testified against their leader couldn’t get his nickname right, let alone a story they gave prosecutors about how they carried out his orders to murder fellow gang members, the defendant said at a past trial.
A jury Thursday heard previous testimony of Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete, who is on trial a fourth time for ordering the murder of gang “queen” Jeri Lynn Dotson and a botched attempt on the life of gang turncoat Alex Ruiz.
In his previous testimony, Negrete said his nickname is “Boom Bap,” a moniker he earned as teenager by beating up a bully. Boom Bap are words that appear in cartoon sound clouds when Batman finishes his opponents, the defendant said.
But Negrete denied ordering his henchmen to “finish” Ruiz or Dotson after she witnessed several gang members lure her platonic roommate away from the Chestnut Street home they shared Aug. 30, 2004.
“I’m not a coward,” Negrete previously testified when asked by his former attorney if he ordered Dotson killed. “That’s some coward s–.”
While Negrete is expected to testify later in this trial, prosecutors wanted the jury to hear his past testimony for when they begin deliberation, which could begin next week, the judge said.
Negrete has said several former Latin King gang members were duped by Esmeraldo “Esmo” Rodriguez, once his second in command, into believing he was behind the plot to murder Dotson and have Ruiz killed.
Negrete pinned the crimes on Rodriguez, a disobedient gang member who acted on his own volition because he felt responsible for triggering the war that broke out when Ruiz defected from the Ñetas.
According to the defendant, Rodriguez convinced Ruiz to dump the Ñetas for the Latin Kings. Then he was involved in an altercation with the Ñetas’ leader outside of Dotson’s home. The Ñetas wanted Ruiz handed over.
The friction between the gangs paralleled that between Negrete and Rodriguez.
Even though he was the new Inca, Negrete said he inherited a “mess” of an organization with no structure. Gang members weren’t used to taking orders. On top of that, he barely had juice in Trenton, after living most of his life in Perth Amboy.
Rodriguez was with the Trenton tribe two years before Negrete’s arrival and held considerable sway with members. Rodriguez convinced fellow Latin Kings to crown Ruiz into the Latin Kings against Negrete’s wishes.
The subtext was obvious: Was it plausible Negrete cemented his iron-fist regime after being on the job fewer than two months?
Negrete claimed he could not order someone killed under the Latin Kings’ manifesto.
When Negrete told Rodriguez he needed to “handle” the Ruiz situation or risk being kicked out of the gang, Rodriguez took extreme measures, the defendant said.
Negrete never meant kill when he told Rodriguez to “handle” the problem.
It was, “You made your bed now sleep in it,” Negrete said, according to past testimony.
Negrete also claimed he was at a mosque when his underlings testified he was meeting with them to hear whether they executed his heinous plot, an alibi his previous attorney said was corroborated by phone records.
The jury will likely hear from the defendant sometime next week. Trial resumes Tuesday.