Murder suspect Edwin Ramos says physical and verbal abuse in his home led him into gang life, but it didn't turn him into the type of person who would kill a father and two sons at random.
Ramos took the stand in his own defense on Monday, as he stands trial for the murders of Anthony Bologna, and his sons Michael and Matthew, on June 22, 2008. The Bolognas were driving home from a family picnic when they were shot and killed in San Francisco's Excelsior district.
Prosecutors say the killings were in retaliation for the shooting of a fellow gang member. The victims were reportedly mistaken for rival gang members.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that, during his testimony, Ramos said his mother verbally abused him, often telling him she wished he had never been born. Ramos also said one of his mother's boyfriends physically abused him.
Ramos, a native of El Salvador, said he ran away from his Mission district home after the abuse, and eventually became part of the MS-13 gang.
When asked to describe the 2008 shootings, Ramos said he was driving with fellow gang member Wilfredo "Flaco" Reyes, when they encountered the Bolognas' vehicle in an intersection.
Ramos said Reyes started shouting gang threats and then leaned over and started shooting at the vehicle.
Reyes is still at large.
Danielle Bologna, the wife and mother of the victims, and her surviving son Andrew, were in the courtroom during Ramos' testimony. Andrew Bologna, who was with his father and brothers when they were shot, testified earlier in the trial that Ramos was the one who fired the shots and that he was the only one in the car.
Ramos is expected to continue his testimony Tuesday.