PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The trial continued Friday for a city gang member charged in the death of a 12-year-old child, as an admitted accomplice in the murder continued his testimony.
Luis “Fat Boy” Gonzalez, 23, was back in a courtroom Friday. He, along with four other men who have already pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the crime, is accused of helping to plan and carry out a shooting in a South Side neighborhood that resulted in the death of 12-year-old Aynis Vargas.
Friday is the third day of Gonzalez’ trial, although the first was cut short by a small elevator fire that prompted an evacuation of the courthouse. Ricardo Vasquez, 20, who is serving a life sentence in prison after admitting to his role in Vargas’ death, began his testimony on Thursday.
Vasquez detailed the night leading up to the shooting, telling the court that Gonzalez gave directions as to where Vasquez should drive and that Gonzalez showed 21-year-old Branden Castro, the admitted shooter in the murder, how to properly load and lock the murder weapon.
Vargas was killed last June when gunshots rang out at a neighborhood graduation party on Hartford Avenue. Three other women were injured: Elaine Devargas, Eugelyn Cabrera-Martinez and Vilma Tineo. Since the initial shooting, police and prosecutors have each said the attack was gang-related. Police said, and the admitted conspirators confirmed, that the Hartford Avenue party was specifically targeted as part of a years-long feud between South Side neighborhoods.
Also charged with her death are Angel Valerio, 19, and Gonzalez’ 18-year-old brother who is also named Luis Gonzalez. Both Valerio and the younger Gonzalez pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to murder. Other charges, including first-degree murder, were dropped as part of their plea agreements.
Vasquez and Castro each pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and several other charges. Castro is serving two consecutive life terms in prison, plus an additional 50 years. Vasquez is serving a single life term.