EL PASO, Texas – A district judge in El Paso ruled during a court hearing Thursday that an accused man, David Marmolejo, in the strangulation death of his mother, will stand trial in San Antonio on March 7.
Marmolejo was on trial for murder for two weeks in October in the death of his mother, Gloria Huerta Marmolejo, on July 25, 2009. A walker found her body six days later in the Santa Teresa desert. Jurors deliberated for about two days before District Judge Gonzalo Garcia declared a mistrial after jurors sent a note stating they were deadlocked on a verdict. Garcia said he spoke to Bexar County District Judge Sid Harle, who offered the use of his courtroom for two weeks beginning March 7, during Thursday’s hearing.
Although Garcia cautioned during the hearing that the date was “tentative,” he told defense attorney Greg Anderson and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Vanden Bosch that they could begin issuing subpoenas for March 7. Garcia also asked the attorneys to streamline their evidence and witnesses so that the trial, including a punishment phase if Marmolejo is convicted, wouldn’t last more than two weeks. “I don’t want to go beyond two weeks,” Garcia told the attorneys. Meanwhile, District Attorney Jaime Esparza, who is personally prosecuting the case against Marmolejo, wasn’t at Thursday’s hearing.
In Marmolejo’s first trial, prosecutors brought in witnesses, including police detectives, who testified about records of cell-phone calls allegedly made by Marmolejo. They also pointed out discrepancies between where Marmolejo told police he was during the time his mother was missing, and the locations of the cell-phone towers those calls were traced from. Vanden Bosch said during the hearing that she plans to introduce only one additional expert witness, an FBI agent from Miami, who will testify about cell-phone towers. Garcia scheduled Marmolejo’s next hearing for 10 a.m. Jan. 13 in the 210th District Court.
Records show the last time an El Paso case was heard out of town was in November 2003, when the trial of Adam Curiel, then 17, was moved to San Antonio because of extensive media coverage in El Paso. That case was tried by prosecutors with the El Paso County Attorney’s Office because Curiel was a juvenile at the time of the crime. Curiel was declared delinquent, the juvenile justice system equivalent of being found “guilty”, by a San Antonio jury of killing Charles “Chuck” Potts during an Oct. 29, 2002, robbery of the Good Time store at 10900 McCombs. The same jury sentenced him to 40 years in prison.
A year before Curiel’s trial, Esparza traveled to San Antonio to prosecute Michael Angelo Jacques. Jacques was convicted by a San Antonio jury of the March 2000 murder of 18-year-old Sophia Martinez and sentenced to life in prison. He and his friend William Berkley were convicted in the slaying of Martinez, who was robbed at an East Side ATM and sexually assaulted. Jacques was responsible for the robbery of Martinez. Jacques’ trial was moved after 140 jurors in El Paso said they couldn’t be impartial. Berkley was convicted in the case in El Paso and sentenced to death. He was executed in April.
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