Ovando has been released from prison after new evidence revealed he may have been cold-bloodedly shot by police officers from the Rampart anti-gang division.
"My read on what's going on is what I would call a gang mentality," said Dennis Chang, who represents Ovando's girlfriend, her mother and the two-year-old daughter he's never met.
Ovando, although he was affiliated with a street gang, had no prior criminal convictions before he was found guilty of assault on the officers. The 22-year-old Honduran native had been sentenced to 23 years and four months in prison.
Gloria Romero, grandmother of Ovando's daughter said, "I knew he didn't do nothing, I knew he was innocent."
The new evidence of what allegedly happened to Ovando is coming from former LAPD police officer Rafael Perez. Perez testified recently that he and his former partner, Nino Durden, planted a .22-caliber rifle on the unarmed Ovando after shooting him in October 1996 then lied about Ovando's guilt to cover-up their own wrongdoing.
Durden was relieved of duty last month pending a hearing on charges unrelated to the Ovando case, including allegations of planting evidence and making a false arrest.
Perez is trying to negotiate a lighter sentence for his own cocaine conviction.
In recently-released court documents, Ovando told police investigators that he was handcuffed and "Perez grabbed him by the front of the shirt, held him upright and shot him in the head."
This after he'd already been shot twice in the chest.
At trial, officers testified that Ovando was armed with a semi-automatic rifle.
The allegations made by Perez have led to the suspensions of at least 11 LAPD officers as part of a widening investigation. FBI agents have now joined the probe.
"We will be looking at a large scope of Officer Perez's police work because it's important for us to determine the accuracy," said LAPD Chief Bernard Parks.
Police also confirmed a second shooting involving police, in which officers reportedly shot two young men, killing one of them. Police allegedly planted weapons on them to leave the appearance of a gunfight.
All of the investigations have targeted the department's Rampart Station. It covers an eight-square-mile area just west of downtown Los Angeles, a place that is home to many recent immigrants from Latin America and Asia.