Pictured: Alejandro Garza Jr. was heavily guarded as he was transported from the courthouse to the Jim Wells County jail Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Garza is facing murder charges for the death of Javier 'Jammer” Sanchez. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Trial Thursday focused on Dennis testimony

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Closing arguments were scheduled to begin Friday in the murder trial of Alejandro Garza Jr.

Garza is one of four men who have been indicted for the Jan. 2, 2006 murder of Javier "Jammer" Sanchez.

The only witness called to the stand Thursday was James Dennis, one of four men indicted in the case. Dennis testified he and Sanchez were friends, and that he had gone to Sanchez's home on Jan. 1 to see if he was interested in obtaining cocaine.

Sanchez and Dennis then left and met with Garza on two separate occasions throughout the evening and early morning hours to obtain and use cocaine, Dennis said.

Seeking cocaine a third time, Dennis and Sanchez agreed to meet with Garza on Easterling Drive to again obtain cocaine, Dennis testified.

On Easterling Drive, four armed men ordered Dennis and Sanchez out of their vehicle, and took Sanchez away in a Ford Expedition, Dennis said.

Dennis identified those men as Alejandro Garza Jr., Alonzo "Lowrider" Gonzalez, Alfred "Casper" Gonzales and a man he only knew as "Dito."

Dennis also testified that later he went back to Garza's apartment to get more cocaine, and heard Garza and Alonzo Gonzalez on the telephone telling someone they had killed Sanchez.

Dennis also said that after he was questioned by the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department the day after the killing, he saw Garza and his attorney, Adam Poncio, outside Garza's home. Dennis said those men told him they did not tell investigators anything, and Garza allegedly told Dennis that he should not say anything to investigators either.

In his cross-examination, defense attorney Keith Gould focused on several letters Dennis wrote while in jail, in which he stated that he had only seen four men wearing masks the night of the murder, and that he was being pressured to testify against Garza by the district attorney's office.

Gould also went over Dennis' extensive criminal record, which involved multiple convictions for forgery and burglary.

Under re-direct by District Attorney Joe Frank Garza, Dennis said he had been threatened by Texas Ranger Robert Garza and Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department investigator Enrique Saenz, but that the letters, including the description of the men as wearing masks, were a "smoke screen" to keep Alejandro Garza from knowing he was cooperating with the investigation.

The case is expected to be turned over to the jury by midday Friday.