Blackmail accusations in tattooed Fresno boy trial

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A blackmail accusation is the latest twist in the trial of a father and his friend accused of forcing a 7-year-old boy to get a gang tattoo. Their defense got their chance to lay out their case Thursday.

Defense attorneys are trying to convince the jurors the little boy wanted the tattoo, and his father didn't hold him down. On top of that, one witness claimed Thursday the only reason there's even a trial is because the father refused to pay blackmail.

Enrique Gonzalez and Travis Gorman are on trial for their lives because of a tiny tattoo. They both admit they made a mistake putting the tattoo on Gonzalez's son last April, when the boy was in the first grade. But Gonzalez's long-time girlfriend says the boy demanded it and begged until his father caved in.

"They didn't want to, but he just kept crying and saying he wanted one, throwing a tantrum," Mikayla Ramirez testified.

We're not allowed to show her on the witness stand, but Ramirez also made serious accusations during her testimony on behalf of her boyfriend. She said the boy's mother made threats after Gonzalez refused to pay blackmail.

"What was the threat?" asked defense attorney Manuel Nieto.

"'I'm going to call the cops if you don't give me money,'" Ramirez said she was told by Gonzalez's ex-wife.

Prosecutors pointed out Ramirez isn't a stranger to the criminal lifestyle. She's been convicted of two crimes -- theft and grand theft -- in the last three years. But she's not the only witness to say the tattoo wasn't Gonzalez and Gorman's idea.

As Gorman's 13-year-old sister described the scene, nobody was holding the boy down or forcing him to get the dog paw tattoo.

"I walked into the garage to go inside my house and I saw the little boy," said Karla Gorman. "He was standing up and my brother was sitting down on the chair, tattooing the boy."

The defense has a few more family members scheduled to take the stand Friday. After that, Gorman and Gonzalez are expected to testify in their own defense.

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