Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ram's Killer Gets Death Penalty

A jury this evening decided Joseph Gamboa should receive the death penalty for the 2005 slayings at Taco Land, a bar that was a mainstay on the city's underground music scene.

The 379th District Court jury returned its verdict after more than five hours of deliberations, finding that Gamboa was a continuing threat to society and that there were no mitigating circumstances to spare his life. Jurors also found that he intentionally caused the deaths.

The same jury last week convicted Gamboa, 24, of capital murder in the June 24, 2005, shootings and robbery that killed bar owner Ramiro "Ram" Ayala, 72, and doorman Douglas "Gypsy Doug" Morgan, 53. Bartender Denise "Sunshine" Koger, 41, was shot but survived.

The popular bar and music spot closed after the slayings.

Prosecutors said Gamboa was the gunman in the shootings.

A co-defendant, Jose Najera, 31, is awaiting trial.

Elizabeth Allen for the Express-News

Life or Death?

By Elizabeth Allen at the Express-News

A jury today is deliberating whether Joseph Gamboa should live or die for the 2005 slayings during a robbery at Taco Land, a bar that was a mainstay on the city's underground music scene.
Jurors received the case at about 12:45 p.m. after attorneys for the state and defense presented their final arguments in 379th District Court.

The same jury last week convicted Gamboa, 24, in the June 24, 2005 shootings that killed bar owner Ramiro "Ram" Ayala, 72, and doorman Douglas "Gypsy Doug" Morgan, 53. Bartender Denise "Sunshine" Koger, 41, was shot but survived.

The popular bar and music spot closed after the slayings.

Prosecutors contend Gamboa was the gunman in the shooting.

Jurors only have two sentencing options for Gamboa -- life in prison or the death penalty.

A co-defendant, Jose Najera, 31, is awaiting trial.