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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On the evening of Sept. 4, 2002, Maria De La Luz Bazaldua Cobarrubias, Danitzene Lizeth Vasquez Beltran, Celina Linares Sanchez, Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres, Karla Espino Ramos and Magda Torres Vasquez were working at Garcia’s Bar in Donna, Texas. When the bar closed at midnight, Cobbarubias gave the other women a ride to their trailer home. The women arrived at the destination, but before anyone had a chance to get out of the vehicle, gunshots rang out. Cobbarubias, Beltran, Sanchez and Torres sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died from their injuries. Ramos sustained gunshot wounds to her arm and leg, but she survived. Vasquez did not sustain any physical injuries. Alejandro Martinez of the Donna Police Department was the first officer to arrive at the scene. He determined that the shooting had actually occurred just outside the Donna city limits and contacted the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Several witnesses told Martinez that a Chevrolet Blazer had been parked close to the trailer at the time of the shooting. The witnesses said that the Blazer was white, had paper license plates and did not have any hubcaps. Investigators with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office recovered 61 spent bullet casings from the trailer park, which were of two different sizes: 9 millimeter and 7.76 x 39 millimeter. Police recovered most of the casings from a driveway located directly behind where Cobbarubias parked her Pontiac Grand Am. Investigators also impounded a Chevrolet Blazer a few miles from the trailer park. The vehicle was white, had paper license plates and did not have any hubcaps. It was reported stolen a few days earlier. Several items of clothing that did not belong to the vehicle’s owner were recovered from the vehicle, including a red bandana with white markings. The vehicle had run out of gas. Juan Antonio Quintero, a neighbor, testified that he saw two people at the time of the shooting. One of them was short and chubby and the other one was tall and skinny. Both of them wore black. He noticed that the short person was holding a gun that looked like a TEC-9. He thought one of them resembled Vasquez’s boyfriend, Jesse Munoz. In January 2003, Abraham Osequera and Marco Antonio Mendez told investigators that they believed that members from their criminal street gang, the TriCity Bombers (TCB), could be involved. They gave investigators information pointing towards TCB members Jesus Carlos Rodriguez and Mark Anthony Reyna. Also, investigators received information from Juan Antonio Quintero and his aunt Mercedes Quintero (Mercedes), implicating the TCB. Through further investigation, other TCB members emerged as possible suspects. including Robert Gene Garza. The state’s theory of the case was that J.C. Rodriguez, who was serving time for attempted murder, ordered “a hit” on Nora Rodriguez and Mercedes, because they had been called to testify against him, but his hitmen killed the wrong women by mistake. On Jan. 26, 2003, authorities took Garza to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. After receiving Miranda warnings and signing a waiver, Garza gave a statement describing his own involvement in the killings. In December 2003, Garza was convicted of two counts of capital murder. Pursuant to the jury’s answers to the special issues set forth in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 37.071, ��2(b) and 2(e), the trial judge sentenced the appellant to death for each count. HOLDINGS:Affirmed. The Court of Criminal Appeals first examined Garza’s factual sufficiency challenge. The CCA stated that at the very least the evidence established beyond a reasonable doubt Garza participation in the offense as a party. The evidence, the CCA stated, was not so weak that the verdict is clearly wrong and manifestly unjust, and the contrary evidence was not so strong that the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt could not have been met. Garza, the court stated, also claimed that the trial court erred in denying his pretrial motion to suppress his statement given to investigators on Jan. 26, 2003. Garza claimed that he made the statement in exchange for several promises by authorities that were not kept. But authorities said that they made no such promises. Because, the trial court’s findings were supported by the record, the CCA ruled against Garza on that point of error. Garza further argued that the trial court erred in requiring him to display his TCB tattoos to the jury, because this violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But the CCA held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting this evidence, because the tattoos were admissible to prove the criminal-street-gang element of the offense, and their probative value was not outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Garza also asserted that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance, because he failed to object to hearsay testimony that violated the confrontation clause. But the CCA rejected this complaint, because the reasons for the actions of Garza’s trial attorney did not appear in the record, “and his conduct could have been part of a reasonable trial strategy.” Finally, the CCA concluded that the trial court did not err in instructing the jury that it could convict Garza for both the offense of capital murder and the separate offense of engaging in organized criminal activity by committing capital murder as a member of a criminal street gang and that it could punish the appellant for both. The CCA, however, stated that the trial court did err to sentence Garza to death for the latter. Accordingly, the CCA affirmed Garza’s conviction and sentence of death for capital murder under Texas Penal Code �19.03, but it vacated his sentence of death for organized criminal activity under �71.02. OPINION:Price, J., delivered the opinion of the xourt in which Keller, P.J., and Meyers, Johnson, Keasler, Hervey, Holcomb and Cochran, J.J., joined. DISSENT:Womack, J., dissented without an opinion.

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