Jurors heard witnes Friday in the assassination trial of the first of three defendants linked to a 2014 case in which authorities say the victim’s extremities were burned on a barbecue pit.
Gabriel Moreno, 34, is the first defendant being tried in the case, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Co-defendants Daniel Moreno Lopez, 31, who is Moreno’s cousin, and Lopez’s girlfriend Candie Dominguez, 38, are also charged with assassination and awaiting trial, the report said.
They are accused of killing Jose Luis Menchaca, 35, who authorities say was beaten with aluminum baseball bats, suffocated with a plastic suitcase over his head, then dismembered and barbecued.
At one point, witness Dennis Austin testified, he saw Menchaca’s torso, with arms and legs missing, inside a blue plastic tub, with a plastic container around the head that “held it in place.”
“We saw the torso, head still attached, but detached, like a bobblehead, ” he said. “I will never forget that smell. It reeked worse than disintegrated animal.”
Austin said he saw blood on the walls and lounge of a San Antonio home that Lopez and Dominguez shared, while the main victims was bind at his hands and feet, with his mouth taped, research reports said.
“He( Menchaca) was bleeding from the cheek, there was blood everywhere on him, ” Austin said. “It was like a horror movie.”
“There was blood everywhere on him. It was like a horror movie.”
Another witness, Menchaca’s girlfriend, Sylvia Flores, said she saw Moreno and Lopez attack Menchaca with the at-bats Sept. 30, 2014, the Express-News reported.
She said Lopez and Menchaca were involved in an altercation over a drug deal, when Menchaca stabbed Lopez, who then shot at Menchaca, the report said.
Flores said on the day of the two attacks, Dominguez, “whos also” Menchaca’s cousin, resulted her and Menchaca to a back room of Lopez’s residence, where Moreno and Lopez beat Menchaca “until he fell to the ground with his bloody head pushed up against a sofa.”
“He was on his back and was hollering for their own lives, ” she told the jury.
“He was on his back and screaming for his life.”
Flores was stripped naked and bound soon after, she said. Days subsequently, she said Lopez proved her the barbecue pit and was poking “a leg or limb, a joint” with a stick, the Express-News reported.
Austin said the two cousins tried to suffocate Menchaca with a pillow and plastic pouch, the newspaper reported. He said the man told Lopez he was sorry and “begged for their own lives, ” but he said Lopez told Menchaca “no, you( expletive) with the wrong person.”
If convicted, Moreno could face life in prison, Fox San Antonio reported.
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