Monday, August 18, 2008

Suspect in Slaying of Austin Cabbies Faces Death Penalty

Preparations are underway in Austin for a trial that involves issues of murder, illegal gun ownership, and the sentencing laws of Texas. Each one of these controversial points will provide plenty of material for both legal scholars and amateur analysts to dissect, and the local blogs are already buzzing with heated opinions.

Alberto Garcia has been charged with killing two Austin cabbies eighteen years ago. He allegedly shot the men with a weapon that was purchased despite his prohibitive status as a felon. Garcia had a long rap sheet, including multiple aggravated robberies and a theft, but an upstanding shop owner still decided that he should be allowed to walk away with two guns. Garcia has already been found guilty of using these guns to rob three Austin banks in 2000 (which led to his current residence at a federal prison) and over the past few years the Travis County Police Department has discovered pieces of evidence to tie him to the cabbie slayings as well.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle originally announced that he would not seek the death penalty for Alberto Garcia. However, prosecutors soon learned that the death penalty option could not be waived under 1990 law, when the crimes were committed. So, both crimes will be combined into one trial to show that Garcia murdered "pursuant to the same scheme and course of conduct," therefore making the death penalty a strong possibility.

The jury will use the sequence of questions that were applicable in 1990 to determine Garcia's guilt. Did he act deliberately knowing that death could occur? Is Garcia likely to commit further violent acts? Was the violent act in question unreasonable considering any provocation by the deceased? If the jury answers "yes" to all questions, then Garcia gets the death penalty.

At Bertolino LLP, we have criminal defense attorneys who are aggressive even in these most serious of circumstances. If you find yourself in need of legal representation, please give us a call.

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