Despite disturbing descriptions given by eyewitnesses in the murder trial of Luis Carmona, a Cook County jury found the 24-year-old Brookfield man not guilty of a 2003 drive-by shooting.
According to Carmona’s attorney, Shannon Lynch, there was no physical evidence linking Carmona to the Aug. 31, 2003 killing of Jose Godinez. Instead, prosecutors relied on eyewitness testimony to implicate Carmona in the shooting of Godinez, then 20.
Vanessa Gudino, an 18-year-old South Side resident, testified during the trial that she was one of three people seated in the back seat of Godinez’s Chevy Suburban at the time of the shooting.
Gudino said the SUV was stopped at the intersection of Kostner Avenue and 26th Street at about 10:20 p.m. on Aug. 31, when she heard someone shout, “What’s up?” followed by an expletive.
Gudino told the jury she looked up just long enough to see the upper body of a man wearing a white bandana and “a flame come out of the gun.” She said she then saw a black four-door sedan drive away before she jumped out of the SUV and ran into a nearby pizzeria to call police.
“I had blood all over my clothes,” Gudino said.
Gudino’s testimony conflicted with Richard Resendiz, 22, who was in Godinez’s passenger seat at the time of the attack. Resendiz testified that when the black sedan pulled up to their SUV, he heard only the word “maniac” shouted before hearing two gunshots. Maniac is a short term for the Maniac Latin Disciples street gang.
Resendiz testified that he knew Godinez was a member of rival gang and denied being a gang member himself. Gudino and Resendiz both fingered Carmona as the shooter during police questioning and in the courtroom.
During cross examination, Lynch asked Gudino how she was so certain that Carmona was the shooter.
“[He has a] face you don’t forget,” Gudino replied.
But prosecutors could not produce a weapon or a positive identification of the shooter’s vehicle.
Carmona, whose verdict was announced last Friday, has one prior conviction for a nonviolent narcotics offense, according to Lynch.