A federal grand jury returned an indictment that adds a fifth gang member to an indictment that had previously charged four others in connection with a six-year conspiracy to assault and murder African-Americans in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles.
Porfirio Avila was named in a conspiracy charge that alleges numerous violent assaults against African-Americans, including murders that took place in 1999 and in 2000. The indictment alleges that Avila was the driver of a vehicle that carried the shooter who fatally shot Christopher Bowser on December 11, 2000.
Four of Avila’s fellow gang members were previously indicted in August 2004 and are also named in the new indictment. The four previously indicted were allegedly directly involved in the murder of Kenneth Kurry Wilson, an African-American man gunned down in Highland Park on April 18, 1999.
Avila, 31, is currently serving two life sentences in state prison for the murder of Christopher Bowser and another African-American man.
The indictment charges that the five defendants, all members of the Avenues street gang, conspired with each other and with other gang members to violate the civil rights of African-Americans in the gang’s neighborhood by attacking and sometimes killing the victims.
The conspiracy charge alleges that the defendants attacked numerous African-American residents of Highland Park and murdered Kenneth Kurry Wilson in 1999 and Christopher Bowser the next year. The second count of the indictment alleges that the four defendants who participated in Wilson’s murder did so because Wilson was African-American and because he was using the public streets of Los Angeles. The final count of the indictment charges the same four defendants with using a firearm during the commission of a conspiracy and hate crimes.