Two Los Angeles police officers caused the death of a 16-year-old girl by trying to trick a murder suspect into confessing, falsely telling him their daughter had identified him as the shooter in a gang-related murder, the parents say in Federal Court.
Martha Puebla was shot to death outside her home in 2003, shortly after police falsely told Jose Ledesma that Puebla had picked him out of a photo line-up, the complaint states. Puebla's parents say that Ledesma retaliated by arranging for their daughter to be killed.
Puebla did testify at Ledesma's preliminary hearing, but did not accuse him of the shooting, the complaint states. Nonetheless, the parents say, Det. Juan Rodriguez circled Ledesma's lineup photo, wrote, "this is the guy that shot my friend's boyfriend" under it, and forged Puebla's signature on it.
Puebla's parents say they were unaware of the police's actions until this year, because the police hid their plan to entrap Ledesma, both before and after Puebla's murder. They say police failed to offer their daughter protection, though they knew the danger she would face because of their actions, but that the LAPD had the parents move to another state "within weeks" of their daughter's murder.
Represented by Benjamin Schonbrun with Schonbrun Desimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, the parents also sue Det. Martin Pinner, Police Chief William Bratton and the City of Los Angeles.