Jerome Aquino, Rivera's attorney, said doubt will be cast upon Rivera's involvement in Paz's slaying. "The evidence will show that people other than [Rivera] had a problem with" Paz, Aquino said. He added that a list named 13 individuals who were considered a threat to Paz, including a former boyfriend who was jailed in Texas. No. 10 on the list, Aquino said, was Rivera.
Paz was taken to a safe house in Silver Spring after she began cooperating with authorities in fall 2002. While she awaited transfer into the federal witness protection program, she continued communicating with MS-13 members, people she considered family, attorneys said. She moved several times before finally landing in St. Paul, Minn.
_____From The Post_____
U.S. Faulted In Slaying Of Witness (The Washington Post, Apr 13, 2005)
D.C. Gang Leader Gets 151 Years in Deadly Plot (The Washington Post, Apr 9, 2005)
Gang Link Suspected in Pr. William Attack (The Washington Post, Apr 6, 2005)
Trial Witness in MS-13 Case Flees but Is Apprehended (The Washington Post, Mar 29, 2005)
Attorney Protests Legal Maneuvers in MS-13 Killing (The Washington Post, Mar 29, 2005)
There, defense attorneys said, MS-13 members visited her, and "at the last second" she decided to return to the Washington region with them, said Frank Salvato, Garcia-Orellana's attorney.
"A month before her death, she was in and out of hotels" and begging for money on the streets, Salvato said. She had returned to the gang life, he said.
Paz, who was described as both engaging and fragile, was not protected, Aquino said.
"Is the government to blame for not protecting her?" he asked, adding that a psychological evaluation indicated that Paz needed close monitoring. "She was not closely monitored. She even became pregnant. . . . She never really was in the witness protection program. She always maintained contact with the gang."
It was not the gang that Paz was attracted to, but its members, Walutes said. While in Silver Spring, she became close friends with Grande.
"She was pregnant, lonely and she missed her family -- MS-13," he said, later adding that Paz walked away from witness protection and into a carefully plotted murder scheme.