The trial of Wilfredo Roman and Manuel Lugo in April of 1994 was a momentous event for the Bronx community. Angel Otero, a drug dealer, gave the prosecution false information about the shootings of Carlos Ventura and his girlfriend Marilyn Colon, leading to the two men being tried by separate juries. Julio Santos testified that he saw the argument between Manuel Lugo and Carlos Ventura, but did not witness the shooting itself. The defense case consisted of a single witness, Ramona Garcia, who testified that she was a drug addict who sold crack for Ventura, and that she saw two men, who were not Lugo and Roman, get out of a car and shoot Ventura and Colon. Detective Hearty was the leading detective in the investigation, and tried locating a man named “Chino”, but was unable to do so.
The People argued that if the jury believed Otero, Lugo's guilt was then established. On April 27, 1994 the jury acquitted Roman of all charges, and found Lugo guilty of ordering Roman to carry out the shooting. On May 24, 1994 Lugo was sentenced to 45 years to life. During the sentencing, Lugo expressed his sorrow for the families of the victims, but maintained his innocence, stating that the real criminals were still out in the streets. Lugo has since exhausted his direct appeal, and submitted a Habeas Corpus petition based on issues raised in Lugo’s direct appeal. He has continued to maintain his innocence from the moment of his arrest.