Startling New Evidence in Officer's Death

Photos, videos and diagrams reveal new details in October 2010 killing

By Paul Krueger and Mari Payton
|  Friday, Apr 26, 2013  |  Updated 10:04 AM PDT
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NBC 7 has obtained copies of important and previously unreleased evidence in the case of a San Diego police officer shot to death more than two years ago.

NBC 7 has obtained copies of important and previously unreleased evidence in the case of a San Diego police officer shot to death more than two years ago.

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NBC 7 has obtained copies of important and previously unreleased evidence in the case of a San Diego police officer shot to death more than two years ago.

The photographs, video tape and crime scene diagrams were presented to a county Grand Jury that charged three defendants with the murder of Officer Christopher Wilson, the attempted murder of four other officers, and other felonies.

Defendants Alex Charfauros, Patrick Luangrath and Melissa Ortiz are charged with murder, even though there’s no evidence that they fired even a single shot that night.

An investigation revealed that the fatal shot was fired by one of two other suspects who had barricaded themselves in at bedroom at the apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive, in Bay Terraces.

Those heavily armed suspects, Holim Lee and Lucky Xayasene, killed themselves after shooting Officer Wilson.

Among the diagrams obtained by NBC 7, whose attorney waged a months’ long legal battle for the release of that evidence, is a diagram that shows where Officer Wilson was standing that night.
He was positioned just outside the bedroom door, where he was hit by a single bullet fired from an angle inside the bedroom.

The grand jury saw cell phone video of Charfauros, who prosecutors say lied to police at the scene, when he told them he didn’t know if anyone else was inside the apartment. The District Attorney said Charfarous lied again, when he told officers there were no drugs or guns inside the apartment.

Those alleged mistruths led the Grand Jury to charge Charfauros with felony conspiracy to resist or delay a police officer.

Luangrath and Ortiz are also charged with that crime.

NBC 7 also obtained video of police interrogations of Luangrath and Ortiz.

In those videos, the defendants both insist they were hiding in a closet when the gun-battle broke out.
But prosecutor Michael Runyon cast doubt on their story, and used evidence to show that the closet was too small, and too crowded, to hold the two defendants.

Runyon also showed the Grand Jury a cell phone video that he said shows  Luangrath handling a pistol and ammunition clip.

He told jurors that an object on the floor near Luangrath was a shotgun, later found in the bedroom, after the shooting.

In another video clip, Ortiz can be seen nodding her head affirmatively, when asked by a detective if she turned out the bedroom lights when police entered the apartment.

Prosecutors say that act gave the shooters an advantage, because police could not see into the bedroom after they broke down the door.

The videos also show what prosecutors say is repeated drug use by some or all of the defendants.
Prosecutors used that evidence to persuade the Grand Jury to charge the three defendants with felony “possession of a firearm by possessor of controlled substance."

The prosecutor’s case is built in part on the legal theory that the defendants are guilty of Wilson’s murder even if they didn’t fire or touch a weapon during the shoot-out, because Wilson’s murder was a “natural and probably consequence” of the other illegal acts they allegedly committed.

The three defendants have pleaded not guilty to the 17 charges that tie them to Officer Wilson's death.
Their lawyers insist nothing their clients did that night, or before the shooting, makes them in any way responsible for Wilson's death.

In fact, the defense claims law enforcement botched that probation raid, and must share responsibility for Wilson's death.

The grand jury did not hear that argument, because jurors only hear the prosecution's case when deciding whether there is enough evidence to charge a defendant with a crimes.

Defense attorneys are not allowed in the jury room, and cannot cross-examine witnesses.

There will be three separate trials for the defendants. The first is scheduled for July 19.

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