FRESNO, Calif. - The gang member who inked a gang tattoo on a 7-year-old boy testified Friday there's nothing wrong with tattooing a minor as long as parents give their permission.
Travis Gorman also told a Fresno County Superior Court jury that he would tattoo his own daughter once she turned 7 if the child's mother approved.
"I love tattoos," said Gorman, who has more than a dozen of them on his face, neck, arms and body.
Prosecutor William Lacy contends that Gonzalez held down his son while Gorman inked a dog paw - the symbol for the Bulldogs gang - with the intent to promote the criminal street gang.
If convicted, they face life in prison.
Gonzalez was supposed to testify Friday, but Gorman spent nearly all day on the witness stand, clarifying his view of what happened during Easter break last year.
He said the boy wasn't telling the truth when he testified earlier this week for the prosecution that he didn't want the tattoo and that his father held him down.
"He was throwing a fit. He wanted a tattoo," Gorman told the jury of six women and six men.
Gorman said he wanted to set the record straight because he initially told police after his arrest in April last year that he didn't tattoo the boy. "Why would I tat a 7-year-old? That's crazy," Gorman said in a taped police interview, which was played to the jury Friday.
He changed his story when a detective told him the boy identified him.
On the witness stand Friday, he told jurors he lied to police to shift blame to Gonzalez and stay out of trouble. He said he was now telling the truth in court because "I'm under oath."
In the taped police interview, Gorman said Gonzalez picked out his son's tattoo. But on the witness stand, he said the boy wanted the dog paw after he pestered his father.
Gorman also testified that Gonzalez never held down his son and said the boy told him and others that he wanted the tattoo so he could "be like his dad."
Gorman said Gonzalez loves his two sons, and they love him. He testified he tattooed the boy as a favor to Gonzalez, whom he described as a close friend - "like a brother."
"It was not my intention to hurt the boy in any way," Gorman testified.
Gorman said he is no longer a Bulldog gang member, but admitted that he's been convicted of theft-related crimes in 2007 and 2008.
Behind bars, he said, he was considered a loner and had to join the Bulldogs and get gang tattoos to survive. If he didn't join, he told the jury, "it would be like a sheep in a lion's den."
In prison, Gorman said he became a tattoo artist, though he doesn't practice the art on his own body.
If set free, he said he would focus on his attention on his girlfriend, their 2-year-old daughter, his ailing father, and his tattooing skills.
The trial resumes Tuesday after the holiday break.