I had to admit – two girls on the floor of a Taco Bell in East LA trying to kill each other on Christmas Eve? Arthur knew he had me.
“The young gentlemen accompanying them simply stood around watching the girls fight. When it started getting bloody and it looked like the cops were coming the fellows pulled the girls apart and left. One of the girls and some of the fellows ended up at a Christmas Even party at the girl's house. It was at this party hours later in the early morning of Christmas day that two sweet lads with 9mm guns showed up and started shooting at the people standing outside the house. Two members in good standing of the Stanley Park gang were killed. Since the other girl at the Taco Bell brawl was "associated” with the Tatlow gang it was assumed that it was Tatlow that did the deed. Although these are two different gangs, Stanley Park and Tatlow, these people all grew up together in the same neighborhood, went to the same schools, they even intermarried even though some were Stanley Park and some Tatlow. Just like the Cabots and the Lodges.”
It’s beginning to dawn on me that this is going to be a long and complicated story so I ask Arthur where he comes in.
“Boychik I’m getting there. My guy isn’t even involved yet. It’s the retaliation homicide that gets me into this. That very afternoon on Christmas day it takes place, can you imagine, Christmas yet? You know I'm in desperate need for a donut – give me a couple of bucks I don’t seem to have any change on me.”
Arthur is famous for being broke – very broke – as in having the IRS hounding him – due to his apparent longstanding problem with gambling and losing, on the horses. I give him a five dollar bill and off he goes to the snack bar. When he comes back with two donuts and a coffee he settles down and continues.
“A young man by the name of Boxer, a member in good standing of the Tatlow outfit, is gunned down that very afternoon while washing his car in front of his apartment. Not only gunned down but kicked and spat upon by his assailants and I might as well tell you now that I happened to be the lucky attorney to be appointed to represent one of these alleged assailants, allegedly a member of the Stanley Park gang. My client, Angel Beltran, aka Joker, had been identified, through photographs, by the girlfriend of said victim, Boxer. This girlfriend claimed to have seen the entire incident.. My client, Joker, was also identified through photographs, as well, by a Hector Guttierrez, a security guard by trade, who observed the crime from his window.”
I tell Arthur that it looks bad - that's all he was waiting for.
"Looks bad? It was hopeless. And on top of that my client was an extremely unpleasant young man with the Mark of Cain on his brow. I might add he also had several tattoos on the same brow. Looks bad? I should say so."