Reluctant witness blames friend for two murders

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno County sheriff's deputies arrested /*Yobanni Bonilla*/ near the Mexican border a couple weeks later, but now -- we're learning there may have been two shooters. /*Luis Alonso Martinez*/ didn't want to be in court to testify against his friend. Prosecutors had to have him arrested to get him on the stand. But once he was there, he said he had a front row seat for the murders committed by his friend and another man who has not been caught.

"I don't understand what happened," Martinez said. "All I heard was some gunshots."

Wearing a Raiders jacket and handcuffs, Martinez recalled the day last September when a friend picked him up to get tacos, then took him along for a ride that ended in a shooting killing two brothers. Martinez testified through an interpreter that after eating, Yobanni Boniila and a man named Martin circled a Mendota neighborhood, then stopped, got out, and opened fire on people at a party.

"I saw them fire the gun, the shots," he said. "That's all. I didn't know what was going on."

A judge wouldn't allow us to show Martinez's face, but he and Bonilla have been friends for years. We got video of them in 2009 when they were both pallbearers at the funeral for Alex Mercado, the 4-year-old Mendota boy who was killed by a young neighbor.

Investigators say Bonilla was later the cause of the funeral for Daniel and Rene Leon. Sheriff's detectives say Bonilla fled the Valley after the shooting. They caught him in El Centro, just miles from the Mexican border. Once he was in custody, investigators say Bonilla confessed to targeting the party because someone there had recently hit him in the face.

"He said it was true," said Fresno County sheriff's detective Hector Palma. "He was responsible for the shooting."

Action News talked to the sheriff's office about the second shooter Wednesday afternoon. All they'd say is that they're still working on the case.

A judge decided there is enough evidence for Bonilla to stand trial for the murders.

Prosecutors will decide whether to pursue the death penalty before a hearing next month.

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