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Los Hooligans Murder Trial: Self-Defense or Murder 1?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 weeks ago on
July 8, 2024
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Defense attorney Anthony Capozzi presents his opening argument to the jury in the murder trial of Joe Gomez Jr. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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Three family members of a musician killed in a Parlier street testified on the first day of the Joe Gomez Jr. murder trial on Monday.

Israel Trevino Jr. died when Gomez fired a gun on May 2, 2021. That is one of few things all sides — the prosecution, defense, and witnesses — agreed upon. Other details remained inconsistent among Trevino’s family members.

Described as “locally famous” by prosecutor Nicole Idiart, Trevino played bass for Los Hooligans, a conjunto band known for its brand of Tex-Mex music in the Central Valley and Texas.

Idiart, during her opening statement at Fresno County Superior Court, told the jury that the Trevino family did not personally know Gomez. She said Gomez had been driving by the home, owned by Israel Trevino Sr., several times, revving his engine.

“At which point the defendant pulled out a firearm, pointed it at Junior. Junior rushed the defendant, at which point he was fatally shot,” Idiart said.

Defense attorney Anthony Capozzi explained to the jury his legal theory.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence will show beyond a reasonable doubt that this was in self-defense,” Capozzi said.

Gomez is charged with murder in the first degree, attempted murder, and assault with a deadly weapon.

How and why an incident between Gomez and the Trevino family turned into a homicide remains to be answered.

Son, Father, Uncle Testify

Israel Trevino III, who goes by Izzy, testified first. He played bajo sexto — a Spanish guitar — in Los Hooligans with his father and with his great-uncle Bicente Trevino, an accordion player.

Israel Trevino Jr. was a retired state correctional officer. Izzy Trevino also worked as a correctional officer but does not anymore. He did not elaborate.

Izzy Trevino, 36, said he was playing music in the garage with his family members when Gomez kept driving along Parlier Avenue, stopping and revving his engine. Izzy called this behavior “unusual.”

Gomez parked the car in front of the home and got out, acting “lost” according to testimony. Izzy Trevino said Gomez stayed on the sidewalk. Later testimony from Bicente Trevino and grandfather Israel Trevino Sr. said that Gomez entered the property by walking onto the driveway.

Izzy Trevino testified that his father told Gomez to leave. Both he and his father “advanced” on Gomez, who then pulled out a gun. A scuffle ensued, and then Gomez shot Trevino Jr.

Neither Gomez nor any of the Trevinos made any verbal threats, Izzy Trevino testified.

He then testified that he “got on top” of Gomez. Gomez then fired two times into his belly, twice in his pelvis, and once in his eye. Izzy Trevino said he punched Gomez in the face after shots were fired.

Izzy Trevino testified that Gomez said “your grandfather has been talking sh__ on me on Facebook.” Later, Israel Trevino Sr. testified that he does not use social media.

Uncle Disarms Suspect

Bicente Trevino, also known as Vinny, was playing music in the garage but had his back turned when the shots were fired.

Bicente Trevino, 68, testified he then “bear-hugged” Izzy Trevino and Gomez when both were locked with each other on the ground. He was able to disarm Gomez by kicking him in the head — defense attorney Capozzi showed video shot by a neighbor during his opening statement. But Bicente Trevino did not realize the gun was empty until he held it in his own hand.

Both Bicente Trevino and Israel Trevino Sr. testified that Gomez then pulled a knife on Bicente Trevino to get his gun back. Bicente Trevino said he complied and that Gomez said he wanted the gun back so he could ditch it.

Describing how his nephew, Israel Trevino Jr., looked, Bicente Trevino said “I never seen a (face) color like that.”

Israel Trevino Sr., 79, confined to a wheelchair, was the third and final witness of the day. He said although he did not know Gomez, the suspect had been driving by his house and revving the engine for at least 10 years. Gomez would often park his car in front of his house for days, and walk home, Trevino Sr. testified.

The elder Trevino said that did not upset him because it was a public street.

He testified that Gomez did come up on the driveway, and his son pushed him back to the sidewalk.

“You’re not going to touch my dad,” the older man testified that his son said to Gomez.

Israel Trevino Sr. said after his son was mortally shot, he asked him to open his eyes, which he did and smiled.

One Juror Dismissed

Last week Capozzi and Idiart selected the seven men and five women for the jury — with four alternates, all female.

In the middle of the first day, Juror #5 complained of a chipped tooth and subsequent pain, suffered over the weekend. Judge Arlan Harrell dismissed the juror, then swore in one of the alternates.

Testimony continues on Tuesday. Idiart plans to call more witnesses and wrap up her case during the day.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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