DOWNTOWN L.A. — The blood spilled at the Moose Lodge left a stain on the lives of the families of both the victims and the alleged murderers, and it is now seeping out to affect another family, that of material witness Cristian Solares.
Solares was called to testify to the events of Mar. 5, 2005 when three documented gang members entered a private birthday party and killed two of the attendees at the Moose Lodge in Sunset Park.
But Solares refuses to appear, and now his father faces possible incarceration for declining to give his whereabouts to the district attorney.
Eric Nuñez, a.k.a. Ector Hugo Sanchez, and Jose Mojarro face two counts of murder with a special gang enhancement (using firearms during a gang crime) and a third count of assault with a deadly weapon.
A third man, William “Willie” Vasquez, who is also an alleged gang member, has been charged as well, but will not be tried at this time. All three have pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, the defendants face life sentences without parole or the death penalty.
The three, who are believed to be members of the 18th Street gang Alsace clique, are charged with the murders of Santa Monicans Hector Bonilla and Jonathan Hernandez, who were shot multiple times at the Moose Lodge.
Solares’ father sat in the back of a downtown Los Angeles courtroom throughout the morning Monday, waiting for the interpreter to explain his situation. The interpreter did not come until the recess, at which point the judge ordered Solares to give up the location of his son.
“I brought my son last time,” Solares said, translated by the interpreter. “My son is afraid and doesn’t feel well and I can’t force him to come.”
He maintained that he had cooperated to the best of his ability with the prosecution, offering a phone number at which his son could be reached. Nevertheless, he may be held in contempt of court for not divulging his son’s address.
The family of one of the accused, Jose Mojarro, was also in attendance. His younger brother, Jesse Mojarro, was in good spirits after a morning in the courtroom.
“We’re fine. It’s crazy, but we’re used to it,” he said. “We’ve been dealing with it for four years, but it’s finally at the last point.”
Four years of waiting and wondering will be decided in the next two weeks. Mojarro’s mother, who works two regular jobs, made no bones to the prosecution about her willingness to be available for the entirety of the trial, despite the difficulty of scheduling.
“It’s most difficult for my mom,” Jesse Mojarro said. “But it seems to be going OK. Just two more weeks.”