US Department of Justice backtracks, won’t seek execution of alleged Sureño accused of three murders

SAN FRANCISCO — More than two years after indicating they would seek death against an alleged Bay Area gang member charged with the murder of three people, federal prosecutors have backtracked, filing court papers indicating that execution is no longer on the table.

In December 2019, the US Department of Justice reported that 33-year-old Michael “Gallo” Rebolledo would be the only defendant to face a potential death sentence out of 10 alleged members of the Sureño gang charged with a total of seven counts. of murder and several other shootings. In a court document reversing the ruling, filed July 12, prosecutors did not state why the death is no longer wanted.

President Joe Biden promised during the 2020 campaign to end federal death sentences, which were resumed under the Trump administration, resulting in 13 executions. But while some federal prosecutors have since announced their intention not to seek death in several high-profile cases across the United States, others are behaving as if that is still an option. In Sacramento, for example, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has yet to officially rule out seeking death for several alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood accused of involvement in fatal prison stabbings.

Rebolledo is said to be a founding member of the 16th Street Sureños who participated in numerous shootings and distributed firearms to other gang members. In addition to the three murders, prosecutors say Rebolledo participated in two shootings where the victims were paralyzed.

In 2018, he and nine others were charged under the Corrupt Racketeering Influenced Organizations Act, also known as RICO, with seven murder charges, stemming from six homicides in San Francisco and one in Richmond. . The other defendants are identified as Jonathan “Trompo” Aguilar, 32; Luis “Lonely Boy” Cid-Salinas, 34; Juan “Huero” Gallardo, 30; Joshua “Ghost” Gonzalez, 37; Orlando “Chisto” Hernández, 36; Mario “Shy Boy” Reyes, 39; Luis “Grizzly” Rojas, 32; Eddy “Rhino” Urbina, 30; and Weston “Cartoon” Venegas, 31.

The 10 defendants are believed to be part of two different Sureño subset gangs based on San Francisco’s 16th and 19th streets. No trial date has been set.

Denise W. Whigham