By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 05/18/15 – 06:04 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The second phase of a civil trial involving a San Bernardino man marked for death by two San Manuel tribal members and who has already been awarded $4.5 million began Monday in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Now, the jury must decide how much, if any, in punitive damages Stacy Nunez-Barajas, 32, and her brother, Erik Barajas, 42, must pay Leonard Epps, whom they conspired with members of the Mexican Mafia to kill him following a confrontation between Epps and Erik Barajas at the now-defunct Brass Key bar in Highland in 2006.

The attempted murder of Epps was thwarted by a joint investigation by San Bernardino police and federal drug agents into the Mexican Mafia’s methamphetamine racket in San Bernardino. Wiretaps recorded conversations between the conspirators plotting Epps’ murder, said Javier Van Oordt, an attorney representing Epps, during his opening statement Monday.

“Had police not intervened, Mr. Epps would likely not be sitting here today,” Van Oordt said.

Joseph Arias, the attorney representing the Barajases, told the jury during his opening statement that both siblings are paying or have already paid their debt to society. Stacy Nunez-Barajas is serving a 17-year prison stint in Chino for her role in the crime, and Erik Barajas has already completed his 5-year term of probation, and has to live with the stigma of being a convicted felon.

Arias also stressed the passage of time since the incident that spurred the murder conspiracy.


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