SanManuel

By Joe Nelson, San Bernardino Sun
and Lori Fowler, The Sun
Posted: 09/24/13, 6:39 PM PDT |

Two San Manuel tribal members who conspired with members of the Mexican Mafia to have a man killed have failed to comply with a court order to produce their financial records in a civil trial, an attorney said Tuesday.

“Just because you have money doesn’t put you above the law, and that’s exactly what this case has been about,” attorney Frank Peterson said during closing arguments Tuesday in the San Bernardino Superior Court trial.

Peterson is representing Leonard Epps, 43, of San Bernardino, who sued San Manuel tribal members Stacy Nunez-Barajas, 30, and her brother, Erik Barajas, 40, in 2008 after the siblings conspired with Mexican Mafia members Salvador Hernandez, 48, and Alfred Hernandez, 43, who are also siblings.

Epps maintains he needs 24/7 protection since the Mexican Mafia placed a “green light” on him, which in gang lingo is an execution order that never sunsets. The order came following a confrontation Epps had with Erik Barajas at the now-defunct Brass Key Bar in Highland, a local haunt for San Manuel tribal members and gang members, authorities said.

In July, the jury awarded Epps $4.5 million in compensatory damages. Now, they will decide what punitive damages, if any, should be awarded.

Peterson spoke about a financial document that – in his opinion – is an incomplete list of the defendant’s assets and income. He said the defendants have not complied with a court order to produce their financial information to the court. After going over the document with the jury, Peterson said the defendants, who own a lot of assets, were trying to hide their financial details.

Peterson then pointed out several cars and homes listed in the document.

He asked the jury to award punitive damages to the plaintiff.

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