‘Why Did You Kill Me?’ recounts the terrible death of 24-year-old Crystal Theobald as a result of gang violence in February 2006. Director Fredrick Munk pieces together the events of the case through interviews of Crystal’s family members, law enforcement, and former members of the 5150 gang. Over the course of 14 years, the persistent efforts of Crystal’s mother and the police led to the arrests of Julio Heredia, the killer, and others involved with the homicide. Manuel “Tripper” Lemus’ testimony was crucial in securing a conviction in Julio’s case. Curious to know more about Manuel and where he might be now? Here’s everything we know!
Who is Manuel Lemus?
Manuel Lemus and his brother, William “Rascal” Lemus, were a part of the 5150 gang. After William Sotelo told the police about the people who were in his car at the time of the shooting, the police brought in Manuel and his brother for questioning. While William Lemus talked to the authorities, Manuel chose not to say anything. After they were both released from questioning, the gang wanted to know if they passed on any information, and according to Manuel, they had also threatened to kill his brother.
Manuel stated that he decided to leave the gang for good at that point. Both he and his brother had chosen to move to Los Angeles to get away from the gang. He wanted his parents to move as well, but they didn’t, and one day, the gang had burned down their home but luckily, his parents weren’t hurt. After this incident, Manuel went to the police to provide them with his version of the events that transpired the night Crystal was killed.
He had stated that on the night of the shooting, he was in William Sotelo’s SUV along with his brother, Julio, and a few others when another gang member drove up to them and told them that he had been shot earlier by a rival gang member while his daughter was in his car. Now, Julio wanted to retaliate, so they drove towards the rival gang’s neighborhood.
When they were at the intersection, Julio got out of the SUV and proceeded to shoot at the car which had Crystal, Juan (her boyfriend), and Crystal’s brother because he thought that they were members of the rival gang. Manuel also mentioned that nobody from that car shot back at Julio. Ultimately, Manuel and William Lemus’ testimonies were instrumental in convicting Julio Heredia of Crystal’s murder.
Where is Manuel Lemus Now?
Manuel Lemus and his brother were not charged in return for their testimony against Julio. Given the circumstances, it’s not surprising that Manuel has chosen to stay away from the public eye. Having said that, in the documentary, Manuel mentioned that he wanted to raise kids and start a family. While he also talked about moving to Los Angeles with his brother, not much else is known about his current whereabouts.
Read More: How Did Crystal Theobald Die?