Sunday, June 21, 2015 – 10:00 a.m.
It’s time for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to put an end to a long-running and embarrassing legal battle, arising out of an admitted murder-for-hire scheme, hatched by two of its members.
Plaintiff Leonard Epps, former manager of the now defunct Brass Key Lounge in Highland, and target of the plot discovered by federal and local authorities, has received jury awards totaling $6.5 million from defendants Erik Barajas and Stacy Nunez-Barajas.
A pittance in comparison to Tribe casino revenues.
But it could have been much worse.
Epps was seeking upwards of $25 million in punitive damages alone. An amount both Barajas’ could have easily paid over time.
At last report, Barajas Lawyer, Joseph Arias, says there will be an appeal of the case.
It’s not a smart move and the Tribe should intervene.
Erik Barajas has completed his probation sentence and has moved to San Diego. His sister Stacy still sits in State Prison for violating her original probation in the 2008 case.
Most of the San Manuel Tribe are fine upstanding members of the community. Having this case continue only benefits the defense lawyers involved, not the Tribe, nor its reputation, which has taken a hit over this never ending mess.
It’s time for logic to prevail.