Garza's trial set to begin Tuesday in 79th District Court

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

With the murder trial of Alejandro Garza scheduled to start in the 79th District Court Tuesday, court officials and local law enforcement are taking extensive measures to ensure security for the entire trial.

Law enforcement personnel from the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department, the Alice Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Constable Chuy Salinas will be on hand Tuesday to provide security for what is expected to be a week-long trial.

Capt. Aubrey Harper, the security coordinator with the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department, said the added security was part of a new procedure the court is following for all high-profile cases.

"We're doing this because of the nature of the case, it's a high profile case, a murder trial," Harper said.

The new security measures will place more officers not just inside the courtroom, but throughout the entire courthouse.

Anyone who wishes to enter the courtroom will be required to pass through a metal detector, and may be subject to search. Also, anyone who leaves the courtroom during the proceedings will not be allowed re-entry until the court is in recess, Harper said. Officers may also be placed at the doors to the courthouse. Harper said law enforcement officials hope those who work at or do business in the courthouse will be understanding considering the new security measures, and will work with law enforcement during the trial.

"This is to protect the defendant, to protect the jurors and to protect the public," Harper said.

Garza is one of four men indicted for the Jan. 2, 2006 murder of Javier Sanchez.