Fresno Man who tattooed 7-year-old boy testifies

Friday, May 28, 2010

The man on trial for tattooing a dog paw onto a 7-year-old child took the stand Friday and tried to explain the lies he admits he told police investigators. Travis Gorman's testimony could be the difference between going to jail for life or getting a not guilty verdict.

Gorman and the boy's father, Enrique Gonzalez, Jr., are both facing possible life sentences if convicted. All along, they've said the little boy wanted the tattoo. Friday's questioning focused on lies, and who's telling them.

Gorman admits he's lied about the tattoo he gave to the 7-year-old boy referred to in court as John Doe.

"So you lied to Detective (Jesse) Ruelas?" asked prosecutor William Lacy.

"Yes," testified Gorman. "I was trying to get out of trouble."

"But you did," asked Lacy. "You lied to police?"

"Yes," said Gorman. "I did lie to police."

Travis Gorman told two different stories to police in interviews just after the tattooing. Now, he says they were both filled with lies. In the second interview, Gorman said the tattoo was the father's idea and admitted he knew the boy was in some pain. But in court, he testified he left the tattoo unfinished when the adults realized the boy was in pain.

"He was kind of like clenching, saying, 'Dad. Dad,'" Gorman told police investigators in April 2009.

"Earlier you said he was crying," said Fresno County sheriff's detective Mark Fam." Was he crying when you were doing it?"

"Well, he was not like tears crying, but like (sobbing sounds), you know what I'm talking about?" asked Gorman.

"He was sobbing?" asked the investigators.

"Yeah, sobbing," Gorman said.

But in court he added one more detail.

"That's when Mr. Gonzalez told me to stop," he testified.

Prosecutors are trying to prove the men didn't stop when the boy was in pain. They say a mistake near the top of the tattoo is a sign the boy struggled. Gorman says he doesn't remember how the mark happened, but he does remember that nobody forced the boy to get inked, despite his testimony earlier this week.

Gorman says the request seemed a little unusual coming from a child, but even though he told police he originally refused to do it, in truth, he didn't question it.

"If Mr. Gonzalez was okay with it, I was okay with it as well as Mr. John Doe wanted it, so I felt it was ok," Gorman said. "I'm not saying it was right because I know I'm wrong."

Gorman's testimony continues on Tuesday. Gonzalez was scheduled to take the stand today, but he's now expected to testify on Tuesday as well.

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