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Cinco Police Shooting Case May Go to Jury Next Week

February 12, 1988|H.G. REZA | Times Staff Writer

Closing statements in the capital murder trial of Joselito (Jerry) Cinco will begin Tuesday in West Orange County Superior Court, authorities said Thursday. The case will probably go to the jury Wednesday.

Cinco, 28, is charged with killing San Diego Police Officers Timothy Ruopp and Kimberly Tonahill in the Grape Street section of Balboa Park on Sept. 14, 1984. Cinco is also charged with the attempted murder of Officer Gary Mitrovich, who was wounded in the shoot-out. The trial was moved to Orange County because of local pretrial publicity.

Bizarre Twist

The trial took a bizarre twist this week when it was revealed that a female Orange County deputy marshal resigned after it was learned that she had a romantic involvement with Cinco and had been visiting him in Orange County jail. Marsha Leslie Evans, who joined the marshal's service in 1983, resigned in January, said Superior Court Judge Luis A. Cardenas, who is presiding over the trial.

Cardenas refused to comment further, except to say that the trial will proceed as scheduled. There have been no motions for a mistrial, said Cardenas, who ordered attorneys for both sides not to discuss the alleged romance between Cinco and Evans, who is also known by her married name of Konrath. Evans joined Cardenas' staff in July, when he began hearing pretrial matters in the case, the judge said.

Orange County Marshal James Byham also declined to discuss the matter except to say that Evans, 40, has resigned. As in San Diego County, deputy marshals serve as courtroom bailiffs in Orange County.

A law enforcement official there familiar with the case said jail guards were tipped off about Evans' jail visits by a sheriff's deputy who recognized her during one of her weekend visits with Cinco. Evans was graduated from the Orange County Sheriff's Academy in April, 1981, and was a deputy sheriff for two years before joining the marshal's service. Evans also worked briefly at the County Jail, said the law enforcement officer, who asked not to be identified.

The Orange County official said that the Sheriff's Department began an investigation, thinking that she was helping Cinco plot a jail break. A subsequent search of Cinco's cell revealed love letters from Evans and nude photographs of her, the official said. The inquiry also revealed that Cinco's mother, Lolita, had visited Evans' home.

According to this official and another source who knows Evans, she was admonished by her superiors after the trial began in November, when she was seen talking with Cinco on several occasions in a holding cell next to the courtroom. Evans was one of two deputy marshals initially assigned to Cardenas' courtroom and she helped to secure the evidence exhibits used by the defense and prosecution during the trial.

Evans is divorced from a Los Angeles County deputy, the Orange County official said.

Case Is Winding Down

San Diego County Deputy Dist. Atty. Howard Shore said closing statements in the case will begin Tuesday morning. After both sides conclude their statements, the judge will read a long list of instructions to the jury. That will probably not be accomplished until Wednesday, he added.

Defense attorney John Cotsirilos refused to say whether he will ask for a mistrial because of Evans' involvement with Cinco.

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