Sunday, January 28, 2007

Jurors being picked in Taco Land case

Jury selection began Friday in the capital murder trial of Joseph Gamboa, 24, accused in the 2005 slayings of Taco Land owner Ramiro "Ram" Ayala and doorman Douglas Morgan, as well as the shooting of bartender Denise Koger.

Gamboa and Jose Najera, 30, were both charged about two weeks after the robbery at the bar that June 24. Gamboa was already in jail, arrested in connection with a South Side shooting spree that took place days after the Taco Land slayings.

Najera was arrested after police acted on an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers. Witnesses identified both men from photo lineups.

Morgan, 53, also known as "Gypsy," died more than two weeks after the gunshot wound to his abdomen.

The defendants are each charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of attempted capital murder.

The killings ended the long reign of Taco Land as a mainstay of the local underground music scene. Ayala, 72, had a reputation for gruffness and yet warmth that drew him a substantial base of friends and fans.

Jury selection in 379th District Judge Bert Richardson's court could take up to a month because jurors are interviewed one by one in the capital case.

Najera's trial has not been scheduled.

Thanks To The Express-News

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