Trial dates set for four charged with capital murder

Four people charged with capital murder in the death of William Valdez were in Judge Barbara Walther’s courtroom for their first pre-trial hearing. 

Walther scheduled trial dates of Feb. 1, 2017, for Fernando Lavaris; July 19, 2017, for Jonathan Marin; and Jan. 24, 2018, for Elisa Losoya.

The defense is still in the process of discovery and obtaining documents so a trial date was not set Friday for the fourth man involved, Eric Martinez.

On Nov. 4, 2016, there is another pre-trial hearing where a trial date should be set, depending on the progress of the defense’s discovery process.

Walther mentioned in court that there may be a change in location for Marin’s trial. The reason behind the possible change in not known.

The state is seeking the death penalty for Lavaris, Marin and Losoya. They waived the death penalty for Martinez, but has the option to withdraw the motion before his trial.

 

ORIGINAL STORY: The state is seeking the death penalty for Eliza Losoya, Fernando Lavaris and Jonathan Marin on capital murder by threat charges in the death of a San Angelo man.

The death penalty was waived for Eric Martinez, the fourth person charged with capital murder in connection to a shooting death in 2015.

According to court documents, at approximately 4:05 a.m. in August 2015, the four broke into the home of Guillermo Valdez and his father, William Valdez, at 505 Sellers St.

Guillermo Valdez heard his dog barking and someone banging on his sliding glass door. He went outside and Losoya was standing in the driveway and told him they needed to talk. Guillermo felt threatened, went back inside, locked the front door and called the police. Shortly after, he told police he heard the back sliding glass door being broken while he took cover inside his bedroom.

He said he heard a male voice in his father’s bedroom asking where the money was and instructed him to not call police. Guillermo Valdez then heard gunshots coming from William Valdez’s bedroom.

When the attackers left, he found his father laying near his bed with a gunshot wound inches under his armpit, according to the court documents.

William Valdez was transported to Shannon Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. The bullet caused severe injury requiring a kidney to be removed, a spinal cord injury and a perforated colon. Doctors were unable to remove the bullet while William was in surgery. He died in September 2015, as a result of the shooting.

Losoya frequently visited Silver Sweeps, a gameroom owned by Guillermo. Police believe this was an attempted robbery that led to the death of his father, William. Investigators at the scene collected two 9 mm casings and a bullet.

After interviewing all four suspects, police learned that Marin had been casing the house for a future robbery. All four admitted to being at the residence the night of the incident.

Lavaris and Marin had guns and it is believed that Martinez had a BB gun. The complaint states that Losoya and Lavaris walked to the front of the house. Once there, they decided to hide near a vehicle that was parked in the driveway.

Once Losoya began banging on the door and spoke with Guillermo, she went back to her hiding spot by the car when the victim went back inside the house. She could hear the front door being broken into. She claimed she ran from the scene when she heard gunshots.

Meanwhile, Marin went to the back of the house. He had two bandannas – one covering his face and one covering his head. Marin told police he went into the house while the burglary was occurring and he witnessed Lavaris shoot William.

Lavaris was later arrested on an outstanding parole warrant. In a recorded interview with police, Lavaris admitted to being at the residence, but did not remember much because he was under the influence of methamphetamine laced with heroin. He claimed he never went inside the residence and ran from the scene. CSI matched Lavaris’ palm print to the sliding glass door at the victim’s residence.

A notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Losoya, Lavaris and Marin was filed by the district attorney’s office in April 2016. The state waived the death penalty for Martinez in November 2015, shortly after the incident occurred.

Pre-trial hearings for each of the four are scheduled in the 51st District Court in early June.