San Antonio

The Taco Land murders and a death row interview: South Texas Crimes Stories

SAN ANTONIO – It’s been 17 years since two males had been brutally murdered at a well-known bar close to downtown San Antonio known as Taco Land.

As residents celebrated the Spurs’ third NBA Championship close by, pictures had been fired contained in the bar, killing proprietor Ramiro “Ram” Ayala and doorman Doug Morgan.

The lack of these two males has had a lasting impression on so many.

One of the boys who was convicted for this crime, Joseph Gamboa, is now on death row.

For the primary time he’s talking about his conviction and time on death row, however we earlier than we get to his interview we have to let you know extra about Ayala and Morgan.

Ram Ayala and Taco Land’s impression on the San Antonio music scene

Illustration courtesy Ryan Parker (Ryan Parker)

Taco Land was a rugged place, however should you had been a fan of music, it was the spot to see dwell performances.

“It was very funky, like a psychedelic pirate ship,” musician Erik Sanden stated.

Sanden and his good friend Odie performed typically at Taco Land and had been additionally good associates with Ayala.

“He was a great guy,” Odie stated. “Fatherly at times and brotherly at times.”


Ram Ayala with musician Odie photograph courtesy Erik Sanden (Erik Sanden)

Since the murders, Taco Land has by no means been the identical and it has left a void within the San Antonio music scene.

“There’s lots of places to play now, but it doesn’t feel the same,” Odie stated.

“It took a long time for us to recover as a band and be able to just be a rock band again,” Sanden stated.

Not solely is Taco Land missed but in addition Ayala.

“We’re still in mourning, it’s a gaping void,” Odie stated.

“Nothing last forever, I miss you Ram,” Sanden stated.

Remembering Doug Morgan

Doug Morgan Courtesy Erik Sanden. (Erik Sanden)

He was generally known as Gypsy Doug and was the doorman at Taco Land for a few years.

“He would have done anything for Ram and vice versa,” his good friend and former roommate Claude Morgan stated.

Doug Morgan and Ramiro “Ram” Ayala photograph courtesy: Claude Morgan (Claude Morgan)

The two met at Claude Morgan’s reveals as Doug was a fan of music.

“He would come to our show and he would do this crazy Doug dance in front of the band,” Claude Morgan stated. “We all just loved him.”

According to witnesses the night time of the capturing, Doug was shot as he tried to save lots of one other coworker, Denise Koger.


While Koger was nonetheless hit, Claude Morgan believes Doug pushing her down might be what saved her life.

Claude Morgan was not stunned by that transfer, as Doug all the time considered others first.

His life and reminiscence one by no means to be forgotten.

“A really good friend and I miss him,” Claude Morgan stated.

Death Row interview with convicted killer

Joseph Gamboa on death row for 2005 double homicide at Taco Land. (Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

“I had nothing to do with this crime,” Joseph Gamboa instructed KSAT 12 from death row in Livingston, Texas, earlier this month.

Gamboa was discovered responsible in 2007 and sentenced to the death penalty for the double homicide and theft of Taco Land.

For the primary time, Gamboa is talking about that night time — and denying any involvement.

“I was there, I never denied that,” Gamboa stated. “I played a game of pool, bought a beer and left, that was it.”

Gamboa goes on to say he was inaccurately recognized as a suspect, claiming that surviving sufferer Denise Kroger stated the one who dedicated the crime was 5′7, 190 kilos, which he isn’t.


Also, Gamboa stated he wasn’t proud of how his trial performed out.

He stated that a number of instances his attorneys tried to file for a mistrial due to what he claims had been inconsistencies with the police investigation.

“If you go back and you were to look at the audio, video from my trial from the beginning to the end, you would see all this injustice,” Gamboa stated.

As for Gamboa’s confederate on this crime, Jose Najera took a plea deal and was given a 50-year jail sentence.

When requested about his ideas about Najera taking a plea deal, Gamboa stated he couldn’t communicate for his actions.

“I cannot speak on whether he did or not,” he stated.

We couldn’t attain out for an interview with Najera — he died in jail in 2015.

Gamboa’s trial testimony revealed that he and Ayala acquired into an argument and then Gamboa shot him within the abdomen.

He and Najera then robbed the place, capturing Morgan and Koger within the course of.


They left with solely $200 however had been arrested days later.

Gamboa is at the moment on his fourth enchantment looking for a retrial in his case.

For now, he waits for the day he both is granted that retrial or an execution date.

“I’m just going to leave this in the hands of God, you know, and just let him guide the way like he has,” Gamboa stated.

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Back to top button