Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Innocent Till Proven Guilty, Trestle Fire

A good thing to remember, but the other details coming out—about the long-term prevalence of the illegal camping on the Parkway—validate what many who live in the adjacent areas, the North Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, and ARPPS have been saying for years.

Trestle fire role denied
Jailed immigrant speaks out, disputes report of arrests
By Ryan Lillis - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, August 22, 2007

He told local police that his name is Carlos Martínez Morales, born Aug. 25, 1977.

In a federal indictment, he is listed as José Eduardo Moran-Marques, born Aug. 12, 1976.

Either way, the Salvadoran son of a clothing salesman says he had nothing to do with the massive March fire that destroyed a railroad trestle in Sacramento.

The man who was indicted last week on charges of lying about his name and where he was at the time of the March 15 blaze that gutted a Union Pacific Railroad trestle along the American River Parkway told The Bee in a jailhouse interview Tuesday he is afraid he is being jailed "for no reason." He says his name is José Eduardo Moran-Marques, that he was born in Chalatenango, El Salvador, on Aug. 25, 1977, and that he has been deported from the United States three times.

Moran-Marques, who said he lived in the parkway, also said he had never been arrested in Sacramento before May. The Bee reported Tuesday that he had been, citing court and jail records. Sheriff's officials confirmed those arrests as late as Tuesday afternoon but later backtracked….

…A source close to the investigation, who does not wish to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, told The Bee that Moran-Marques told other homeless people he set the fire to get back at police and park rangers who had harassed transients in the parkway.

In the Tuesday jailhouse interview, conducted in Spanish, Moran-Marques said that he never told anyone he set the blaze and that he told police to "bring the people who accused me of this."…

…Moran-Marques, who told The Bee he lived along the parkway for a couple of months before the fire, was arrested as a vagrant earlier this year and then rearrested by federal authorities in May on a charge of coming back into the United States illegally after being deported in 2003. Authorities said Moran-Marques was arrested to keep him in the country while the investigation continued…

…Moran-Marques said he first came to Sacramento in 2005 to work as a gardener. He did not provide the name of the man he worked for, but said he was employed for about seven months, cutting lawns.

Moran-Marques said he would also get day jobs by hanging out on 47th Avenue.

After renting a trailer on Northgate Boulevard, Moran-Marques said he eventually moved to the parkway "because I saw there were a lot of people sleeping there."