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Texas | A Dangerous Man. At 18, Billy Joe Wardlow took a man’s life. Nearly 30 years later, the state still wants his.

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Like any place humans gather, death row has a culture. Billy Wardlow says it's different in many ways from general population. One is in how new inmates are treated. "In [general population], the guys around you would try to find some way to exploit you," Wardlow said. "Death row, with a few exceptions, will often extend a hand of friendship to the 'new boot' so they can get on their feet ... Most of us get together and let each other know what we can send to the new guy."
One of the cherished myths of those who support the death penalty is that it is reserved for the “worst of the worst,” those beyond redemption.
Wardlow typically sends writing materials, food, clothes, and hygiene products. Recently, after receiving some of these items, a new inmate asked Wardlow what he owed him. "I told him to remember how guys helped him when he saw someone else new," Wardlow said. "Pay it forward, as the saying goes."
Sending gifts is one thin…

Death penalty sought against alleged Sureño in major Bay Area racketeering case

Death house, Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary, Indiana
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Justice has decided to pursue a rare federal death penalty case against one of 10 alleged San Francisco gang members arrested and charged last year in a massive racketeering case.

The lone death penalty defendant, Michael “Gallo” Rebolledo, 31, is charged with three murders, including participation in a 2006 quadruple shooting in San Francisco. 

Federal prosecutors say that in addition to the murder charges, they intend to prove that Rebolledo, “represents a continuing danger to the lives and safety of other persons” and that he “is likely to commit criminal acts of violence in the future that would constitute a continuing and serious threat to the lives and safety of others,” two assistant U.S. attorneys wrote in court records.

Rebolledo and his co-defendants face a range of charges that including numerous shootings and seven murders — six in San Francisco and one in Richmond. The other defendants are identified as Jonathan “Trompo” Aguilar, 32; Luis “Lonely Boy” Cid-Salinas, 34; Juan “Huero” Gallardo, 30; Josue “Ghost” Gonzalez, 37; Orlando “Chisto” Hernandez, 36; Mario “Shy Boy” Reyes, 39; Luis “Grizzly” Rojas, 32; Eddy “Rhino” Urbina, 30; and Weston “Cartoon” Venegas, 31.

All 10 defendants are alleged to be part of two different Sureño subset gangs, based in 16th and 19th streets in San Francisco. 

They have been charged under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO, a federal law that originated as an anti-mafia statute used to target criminal organizations.

In the 2018 indictment, prosecutors described Rebolledo as a founding member of the 16th Street Sureños who has participated in numerous shootings and distributed firearms to fellow gang members. In addition to the three murders, prosecutors say Rebolledo had a hand in two shootings where victims were paralyzed.

Prosecutors did not explain in court records why Rebolledo was singled out for the death penalty. Most of the defendants face at least one murder charge, and Aguilar is alleged to have also participated in the 2006 shooting Rebolledo was charged with.

The seven homicide victims’ names have been left out of court records, but some have been identified through media reports and public records.

Two of the victims died as a result of a shooting on March 24, 2006, in the 1900 block of Mission Street in San Francisco, in which four people were shot. One of the victims was identified in published reports as Russell Lee Cummins, 26, who died after being shot, and whose last name is spelled “Cummings” in another report. Another victim died from medical complications several months later, and has not been publicly identified.

Another double homicide occurred on Sept. 4, 2008, and claimed the lives of 19-year-old Noel Espinoza and 23-year-old Matthew Solomon, according to a published report. Federal prosecutors identified Rojas as the gunman and Gonzalez as the getaway driver, and allege that Urbina was “in the vicinity” of the shooting, which took place near Utah Street and 24th Street in San Francisco.

Another of the victims has been identified as 16-year-old Salvador Cortez. He was shot and killed in February 2009 after he stepped outside of a home in the 3100 block of Ohio Street. Cortez and others were celebrating a family member’s birthday at the time. Gallardo has been identified as Cortez’s suspected shooter.

The group is next due in court Dec. 18 for a status hearing, court records show.

Source: mercurynews.com, Nate Gartrell, December 2, 2019


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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