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The Other Victims : Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were not the only ones murdered on June 12. But we don't think about the four others--or the families left wondering if justice can ever be done.

March 10, 1995|DUANE NORIYUKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

We see the day--June 12, 1994--through many eyes: a housekeeper named Rosa, a sister named Denise, an actor and a dog, both known as Kato. The mysterious, diminutive pieces of a fateful puzzle are shuffled and framed, and what emerges are contrasting pictures of what happened that day on Bundy Drive.

Typically, about five homicides are reported to the Los Angeles County coroner's office on any given day--1,798 in 1994.

June 12 was remarkable not for the six homicides that were reported, but for the identities of the day's final two victims--Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman--as well as the man who has been charged with killing them--O.J. Simpson.

We are reminded of the day in terms of burning candles, melting ice cream and a dog's plaintive wail. We do not think about the four other victims.

We do not think about Jaime Apolonio Moreno, a 26-year-old father of two. June 12 was not only the day Gloria Monroe lost her first son, it was the day she lost her faith in God.

Each time she hears about the money being spent in the Simpson case, her heart breaks a little more. If she had been richer, she wonders, would the case have turned out differently? No one was charged. We do not think about Cynthia Margaret Siegfried, 30. Her body was laid to rest in an unmarked grave at the back of a cemetery near warehouses. The family could afford no more.

She left behind two children who were the source of her strength. They were the reason she was trying desperately to change the course of her life, but a stray bullet cut her down in mid-turn. A man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

We do not think about David Wayne Abraham, 29, father of a young son. Abraham worked with developmentally disabled children, who would listen to him when they would listen to no one else. Abraham, of Rialto, died of multiple gunshot wounds, and his body was found dumped in the middle of a Los Angeles street. There has been no arrest.

And we do not think about Trinidad Velasquez, 27, who police suspect was fatally shot by her husband during an argument in their Monrovia home. By the time police arrived, he had fled; his 1980 Pontiac Firebird was found in Azusa the following day, according to police.

Millions of dollars have not been spent to find justice for the families of Moreno, Siegfried, Abraham and Velasquez. Juries have not heard their cases, and the media have not shown the world their tears.

Instead, they have been left believing that justice belongs not to them, but to the rich and famous.

For them, it was not ice cream and candles that began melting away on June 12. It was faith in justice.

*

Vickie Moreno kneels next to the headstone of her husband's grave. She has brought flowers, two children and lingering hope that peace might someday return to her heart.

The heaviest weight she carries--more crushing than sorrow or fear--is that of guilt. Others have said, in whispers or screams, that it is because of her that Jaime is dead. And in her darkest moments she, too, blames herself.

"I feel responsible. It was because of me," she says. "It's always because of me."

Her son, 7, and daughter, 3, know the routine, for they have been here many times since June 12. Vickie, 28, pours water on the marker, then her son rubs at the cool stone surface with a towel until it clearly reflects his father's name.

The children arrange flowers on the marker, settling for a pink carnation in one top corner of the stone, a red one in the other. A red ribbon is placed in the center.

June 11 had been a day of celebration, the irony of so many tragedies. Following a baptism, Jaime and Vickie were celebrating at her parents' home near Huntington Park. There was music and dancing throughout the day and into the night. Jaime, who managed the family business, C & M Metals, was learning to salsa.

Vickie left the party and decided to visit her sister, Paula Fernandez. Paula's husband, Lorenzo Fernandez, had never gotten along with Vickie. After speaking briefly with Paula, Vickie says she walked toward her car to leave and heard shouting inside the house.

Vickie drove away but, concerned about her sister, returned a short time later. A fight ensued between Vickie and members of the Fernandez family.

Vickie--bruised and scratched--left, vowing to return. She drove to her parents' house and got Jaime.

According to Deputy Dist. Atty. John Lynch, Jaime was stabbed by his brother-in-law with a kitchen knife while trying to force his way into the Fernandez home, a fact Vickie now disputes.

Lynch says people inside the home--who had made numerous calls to 911 that morning--had reasonable cause to fear for their lives, and deadly force was, therefore, justified even though Jaime Moreno was unarmed. Fernandez was not charged.

Friends and family paint a saintly picture of Moreno, nephew of former Chicago White Sox outfielder Darrin Jackson, now playing in Japan. They show him in photographs, always smiling, and in memories, always helping others.

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