Prosecution will continue its case today

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The prosecution began making its case Tuesday in the murder trial of Alejandro Garza Jr., who is charged with the Jan. 2, 2006 murder of Javier Sanchez.

District Attorney Joe Frank Garza outlined his case to the jury, which was made up of seven men and seven women, with two alternates.

D.A. Garza told the jury that James Dennis, another man indicted in the murder, lured Sanchez from his home and turned him over to Garza, Alonzo Gonzalez and several other men. Those men then shot Sanchez near Easterling Street, took him to the Alice reservoir and shot him again, before dumping his body on a county road near Six Bridges Road, D.A. Garza said.

"You're going to get the testimony of several witnesses who will lead you to that event," D.A. Garza told the jury. "The facts will show you beyond a reasonable doubt that (Alejandro) Garza participated in this murder."

Following testimony from Christie Ellis, the woman who found Sanchez's body while driving on her way to work, the prosecution called Enrique Saenz, the lead investigator in the case, to the stand.

Saenz, who was with the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department at the time of the murder, testified he found a 9 mm shell casing, a white sock and a brown baseball cap with the letter "T" on it near the body.

Saenz said a coroner's report showed Sanchez had been shot four times with a .22 caliber pistol, and once with a 9 mm pistol, and that a 9 mm bullet that exited Sanchez's body was found at the scene.

Under cross examination, Saenz indicated Sanchez's father was a known Mexican Mafia member, as were Gonzalez, Alejandro Garza Jr. and Alfred Garza, who has also been indicted in the murder. The defense presented the theory that Sanchez may have been killed by the Mexican Mafia in retaliation for his father's cooperation with federal prosecutors in a separate case.

Vanessa Sepulveda, Sanchez's sister, also took the stand Tuesday, and testified her father had never cooperated with federal prosecutors.

Sepulveda also testified Alejandro Garza Jr. was a friend of her family, who had helped to resolve an argument between Sanchez and Gonzalez just days before Sanchez's death. Sepulveda also testified Alejandro Garza Jr. told her he was a member of the Mexican Mafia and was known to carry a 9 mm pistol.

The prosecution was scheduled to continue laying out its case Wednesday.