Chicago Gang Member Tried for Murder
A former La Raza gang member testified Tuesday, March 7, 2012, that he heard fellow gang members refer to “the enemy” minutes before they walked into an alley and a Rogers Park man was shot and killed.
The victim, Jose Regalado, was in the parking lot behind his apartment working on a friend’s car when Justin Rouse shot him in the head, prosecutors said in opening testimony at the Cook County Criminal courthouse. According to prosecutors, Rouse was one of five La Raza gang members involved in the shooting on June 15, 2008. Former gang member Erick Roman told prosecutors that he met La Raza gang members nicknamed Lobo, Psycho, Mollo, Monster and Shadow in Lincoln Park, near Lake Michigan, minutes after the shooting. According to Roman, when asked if he shot Regalado, Rouse said that he “had to hide.”
Regalado was in his early 20s and living with his girlfriend in June 2008, the prosecution said. After Rouse fired the gun, Regalado was taken to St. Francis Hospital and pronounced dead. According to the prosecution, a medical examiner confirmed a gun shot wound to the head as the cause of death. Roman told prosecutors Regalado was a member of the Latin Kings, a rival gang.
“We were enemies. We had been enemies for a long time,” Roman said.
Roman has been convicted on two separate burglary charges and was recently arrested on a marijuana charge. He was also found in contempt of court when he failed to appear in court for the same case in October. According to the defense, Roman’s record made his testimony unreliable.
“The witnesses do not live by our code of conduct. They live by the code of the streets where you do what you can to save your own skin,” the defense said.
Roman told prosectors he met with La Raza gang members at a gang member’s house before the shooting to tell them he wanted to leave the gang.
“I guess it just wasn’t meant for me. I wanted to get out. There were too many problems,” Roman said.
Rouse was charged with first degree murder, and if convicted could serve up to life in prison.