'Lowrider' convicted for Sanchez's January 2006 execution-style murder

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

A Jim Wells County jury deliberated for less than two hours Monday before returning a guilty verdict in the capital murder trial of Alonzo "Lowrider" Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was charged with capital murder in the January 2006 shooting death of Javier "Jammer" Sanchez, whose body was found in a ditch on County Road 247 near Six Bridges Road the morning of Jan. 2, 2006. Sanchez reportedly was wearing only shorts and tennis shoes, and had been shot multiple times in the head and upper torso.

Family members of both the victim and the defendant remained silent while the verdict was read, and Gonzalez showed no reaction when the jury foreman announced the guilty verdict.

In a hearing held shortly after the verdict was read, District Judge Richard Terrell sentenced Gonzalez to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a sentence mandated by law for capital murder convictions.

In that sentencing hearing, Noemi Silva, Sanchez's mother, read a prepared statement to Gonzalez.

"The death of my son, Javier, has caused us a great deal of pain. Our lives have changed forever. His children will never be able to see their father," Silva said. "I hope the time in prison will lead you to have remorse for my son's death. I am glad that justice has been served."

Prosecutor Thomas Turner said he was pleased the jury chose to convict Gonzalez of capital murder, rather than the lesser offense of murder, which carries a lower range of punishment.

"We want to prosecute these crimes to the maximum that we can," Turner said. "Especially under these type of circumstances, where you have what appears to be an execution-style killing."

Turner said the district attorney's office is now turning its focus to the third suspect indicted in the murder, Alfredo "Casper" Gonzalez. A hearing to appoint an attorney for Gonzalez was scheduled for today.

Following Monday's verdict, defense attorney Jon Kelly said he was disappointed with the jury's verdict, in light of testimony by one witness during the trial who said the state's main witness, James Dennis, claimed he committed the murder.

"I'm very disappointed, I do not believe there was enough evidence to find my client guilty," Kelly said. "I think the most telling thing was that it was admitted that maybe James Dennis did shoot (Sanchez), but that didn't matter (to the jury.)"

Dennis was indicted for capital murder in connection with the case, but received full immunity from prosecution in return for his cooperation with the district attorney's office.

Kelly said he is preparing an appeal of the verdict.

Gonzalez is the second suspect who has been convicted of capital murder in the case.

In June, a jury also returned a guilty verdict in the trial of Alejandro Carbajal Garza Jr.