A man charged in connection with the shooting death of a 12-year-old at a graduation party last June told jurors Monday that he didn't realize the crime was about to happen until it was too late.
Luis "Fat Boy" Gonzalez faces numerous charges including murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting June 15, 2013, at a graduation party outside the Hartford Park housing complex in Providence.
Aynis Vargas was killed. Three women with her were shot but survived.
Gonzalez told jurors at Providence Superior Court that he was riding around with other gang members looking for a car that was involved in smashing the windows of one of their cars when they drove past the party.
"Blaze is like, 'Let's bang on the party, let's bang on the party,'" he said. When asked if he knew what that meant, Gonzalez said, "That meant let's shoot at the party."
Blaze is 22-year-old Branden Castro, who plead guilty to murder and other charges and was sentenced to two life sentences and an additional 50 years.
Gonzalez claims he told Castro not to do it.
"I tell Blaze, 'Yo, there's nothing but kids and women there. No shooting no kids.' And then I was like, 'If you do something, do it right.' Basically, in other words, I was telling him not to do the shooting," he said.
Gonzalez said before anybody could even say anything, Castro just ran out of the car.
When asked if he tried to stop Castro, he said, "There was no way I could have stopped him."
Gonzalez said one reason he couldn't do anything was that he weighed nearly 570 pounds at the time of the shooting. He described what happened moments later.
"(Castro) comes back in the car and he's like, 'Let's go, go, go.' At that point (Ricardo Vasquez) puts it in drive and he's speeding and (Vasquez) asks, 'Did you hit anybody?' And it took him a second because he was a little out of breath. (Castro) was like, 'I don't know. I don't know. I think. I just shot in the air,'" Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he learned more than an hour later that a girl had been killed.
Prosecutors have said that Gonzalez wasn't the shooter, but argued that he was equally responsible for the death of Vargas.
If convicted, Gonzalez faces life in prison.
In April, Castro pleaded guilty to murder and other charges and was sentenced to two life sentences and an additional 50 years.
Three co-defendants have admitted to their roles in the shooting.
Angel Valerio, 19, pleaded guilty in April to assault with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy charges. Luis "Didi" Gonzalez, 18, pleaded guilty in March to assault charges. Vasquez, 21, pleaded guilty in September to murder and other charges and was sentenced to life in prison.
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