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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Francisco Gonzales and Debra Espinosa testified that they, Juan Edward Castillo and Teresa Quintana planned to rob Tommy Garcia Jr. Pursuant to the plan, Espinosa called Garcia and made arrangements for him to pick her up and drive to Clamp Street, a secluded area, for sex. As Garcia and Espinosa were parked on Clamp Street, Castillo and Gonzales came up behind the car, Castillo smashed one of the windows with the butt of his gun, opened the car doors and demanded that Garcia hand over his money. Castillo had a loaded gun, and Gonzales had a gun as well, but it was “just for show,” because it did not work. Gonzales and Espinosa both testified that Castillo shot Garcia numerous times as he attempted to run. Several people testified that they saw Garcia wearing his gold medallion necklace on the night of the offense. The necklace was described as a “spinner” medallion on a thick gold chain. Jessica Cantu testified that she saw Castillo wearing the necklace on the afternoon after the killing. She told Castillo that the necklace looked familiar. When Cantu saw Castillo a little while later, he was no longer wearing the necklace. Cantu told Garcia’s mother that she had seen Castillo wearing Garcia’s necklace. Frank Russell and Robert Jimenez both testified that they were at Jimenez’s house with Garcia in the late night and early morning hours of Dec. 2 and 3, 2003, when Garcia received a phone call from Espinosa. Garcia agreed to meet Espinosa and offered to give Russell a ride home on the way. Jimenez testified that 10 minutes or 15 minutes after Garcia and Russell left, he received a phone call from Espinosa who was crying hysterically and told him that someone had shot Garcia. Jimenez drove to Russell’s and the two of them went to Clamp Street where Espinosa said the shooting had occurred. When they arrived, they saw Garcia’s car with the doors open and Garcia lying face-down in the street. He appeared dead. They told police what they knew about Garcia’s plans to meet Espinosa. Gerardo Gutierrez testified that in March 2003, he was an inmate in the same area of the Bexar County Jail as Castillo. Castillo told Gutierrez that he and two friends, Frank and Bita, planned to rob a person, but “it turned out wrong” when the victim took off running and Castillo shot him numerous times. Castillo told Gutierrez that the female accomplice, Bita, was the one who had turned him in. He also said they would have a hard time convicting him, because they did not have the weapon. Lucinda Gonzales testified that she is the younger sister of Francisco (“Frank”) Gonzales, one of the accomplice witnesses. At the time of the murder, Lucinda was living in the same house with Frank and his girlfriend Teresa “Bita” Quintana, among others. Lucinda testified that on the night of the offense, Castillo called numerous times looking for Gonzales, and eventually came over with his girlfriend, Debra Espinosa. Castillo and Gonzales asked to borrow Lucinda’s car, and she finally agreed to let Teresa drive it. Castillo, Gonzales and Teresa left in Lucinda’s car around 9:30 that evening. Espinosa left earlier in her own car. Teresa returned around 2:30 a.m., and she told Lucinda that Gonzales had been arrested on a child-support warrant. The following day, Lucinda saw a news report about Garcia’s murder. A couple of days later, Gonzales was charged with Garcia’s murder and arrested. Later that day, Lucinda covertly listened in on a phone conversation between Teresa and Castillo in which Castillo admitted that he murdered Garcia. Lucinda called the police and reported what she had heard. A few days later, Lucinda confronted Castillo and called him a murderer. Castillo made a threatening gesture toward her and told her that Gonzales was going to stay locked up. Bryan Anthony Brown testified that at the time of the offense he was 15 and living in the same house with his aunt Lucinda, his uncle Frank Gonzales and Frank’s girlfriend Teresa, and others. On the night of the offense, Castillo and his girlfriend came over. Castillo had a gun and a bullet-proof vest. Castillo, his girlfriend, Gonzales, and Teresa all left in Lucinda’s car. Brown found out the next day that Gonzales had been arrested. A couple of days later, Brown was riding in a car with Castillo and Teresa when Castillo said that he had to get out of town, that he had shot someone a bunch of times, and that he had hidden the gun and vest in a field. Authorities arrested Castillo and charged him with capital murder. A jury convicted Castillo in August 2005 of the crime. Based on 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 Castillo to death. An automatic appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) followed. HOLDING:Affirmed. In his first point of error, Castillo claimed that insufficient evidence corroborated the accomplice-witness testimony as required by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 38.14, which provides that a conviction cannot be had upon the testimony of an accomplice unless corroborated by other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the offense committed. The CCA overruled this point of error, finding that the non-accomplice testimony in the trial included evidence that Castillo was seen wearing the victim’s necklace shortly after the murder; that Castillo was seen with a gun and with the accomplices in the hours before the murder; that the victim made a plan just before his murder to meet one of the accomplices; that Castillo told a fellow inmate that he and accomplices had planned a robbery and that he shot the victim multiple times when the victim attempted to run; that Lucinda overheard Castillo admit to Teresa that he was responsible for shooting someone; and that Brown overheard a similar conversation between Castillo and Teresa. This evidence, the CCA stated, was sufficient to connect Castillo with the murder and robbery. In addition, the CCA found that factually sufficient evidence supported the conviction and disputed Castillo’s contention that the Texas death penalty violated the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. OPINION:Holcomb, J., delivered the opinion of the unanimous court.

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