SanManuel

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 – 10:45 a.m.

A lawyer for two members of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, convicted in a Murder-for-Hire scheme, is now trying to get a civil case moved.

Court records show Joseph Arias, the lawyer for Stacy Barajas Nunez, and Erik Barajas, has filed a motion for change of venue in the punitive damages phase of a civil case filed by Plaintiff Leonard Epps.

A civil jury has already awarded Epps $4.5 million in compensatory damages. Now another jury must consider whether or not Epps is entitled to punitive damages, which could be a multiple of the compensatory amount already awarded.

Epps, a former manager of the Brass Key, a local bar, was targeted in a Mexican Mafia Murder-for-Hire plot, which led to the convictions of the two Tribal Members.

District Attorney Michael A. Ramos actually allowed the two to be sentenced to probation, instead of state prison terms, for their 2008 convictions. Barajas Nunez eventually went on to serve prison time for violating her probation.

Since 2008, Ramos has accepted more than $67,000 in campaign contributions from the San Manuel’s.

Court records also show the defendants have been refusing to turn over financial records to Epps’ attorney, Frank Peterson.

The case, which was set to commence trial on April 1, is now set for a Trial Setting Conference on April 9.