Defense begins cross examinations

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The trial of Marie Gallegos, an Alice woman charged with murder, continued Thursday with the defense's cross-examination of a forensic scientist who analyzed DNA evidence linking the defendant with the victim in the case.

Gallegos is charged with the Oct. 24, 2005 murder of an Alice man, James Brown.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Homero Canales concluded his cross-examination of Texas Ranger Ray Ramon, an investigator with the case who took a voluntary confession from Gallegos and collected evidence for DNA analysis.

Prosecutor Lee Persohn presented scientific testimony related to the death of Brown Wednesday, including testimony from the Corpus Christi medical examiner and a forensic scientist with the Department of Public Safety crime lab in Corpus Christi.

The medical examiner, Dr. Ray Fernandez, testified about his examination of Brown's body during the autopsy. According to Fernandez's autopsy report, Brown died as the result of a stab wound to his neck that severed his carotid artery. The jury also heard testimony from Cynthia Morales, a forensic scientist with the DPS crime lab in Corpus Christi, who conducted DNA analysis of several pieces of evidence.

Morales testified she tested blood found on a buck knife recovered from Gallegos at the time of her arrest, and DNA results showed that blood matched blood from the victim. Morales also tested blood found on jeans Gallegos was wearing at the time of her arrest and blood found in a towel and several other items recovered from the Gallegos' grandmother's home, where she was living at the time of her arrest. Analysis of DNA from those blood samples also matched blood from the victim, Morales said. The jury also heard testimony from Alice Police Department Sgt. Michael Jaramillo Wednesday, establishing chain of custody for the knife found on Gallegos at the time of her arrest.

The defense was scheduled to begin cross-examination of Morales on Thursday.