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Friday afternoon testimony
Published:
12/9/2017 12:15:42 PM


 
Levelland resident Judy Garcia wasn’t sure what was keeping her boyfriend, Orestes “West” Garza.
The couple had walked from the Lubbock church to Garza’s pickup truck, where he opened the door for her. She got inside the vehicle and waited for him.
“I heard yelling and talking,” said Ms. Garcia. “I saw Pete (ex-husband) behind West, on his back. He started shooting.”
The mortally wounded Garza, then 51, came up to the driver’s side window. The witness said she was only inches from his face before Garza fell away .
P ete Garcia Jr. then began running and he disappeared from her sight.
“I started running toward the church. I yelled and yelled for help,” she said, sobbing. “I was talking to him (West), telling him it would be OK.”
An ambulance arrived and took the victim to University Medical Center, where he died after suffering four gunshot wounds to the torso.  It was the evening of Feb. 7, 2016.
Ms. Garcia was the 23rd witness to testify for the state this past week. Her ex-husband is being tried for murder in the case.
The witness told jurors that she and her ex-husband began dating when she was a ninth-grade student at Levelland Junior High School. She added that her first boyfriend was West Garza, when she was in the seventh grade.
She and Pete Garcia Jr. married in 1983. She said her spouse was typical in many ways, but he had a controlling nature.
“Things had to be done a certain way, his way,” said the witness. “We would get into arguments. He got angry because things didn’t go according to plan.”
Ms. Garcia said she became “involved” with West Garza in 1993. She said her husband had started having an affair with another woman before that time. He stopped that affair but may have started another one, the witness said. She acknowledged that she had an ongoing relationship with Garza until he was killed.
The prosecution played numerous phone messages that the defendant made to his wife’s workplace after the couple divorced in 2015. The calls, which were for the time period of January and February 2016, were repetitive and insistent. Garcia repeatedly stated that he still loved her and usually asked her to call him. 
The witness said her ex-husband sometimes parked where she couldn’t see him and then approached her on foot. He also followed her and West Garza to different locations.  She said yes when asked by prosecutor Sunshine Stanek if the defendant’s habit of  following her was a “continuing pattern.”
“He wanted me to come back. He said I was doing things and was a bad mother, a bad person,” Ms. Garcia said.  “He said I was possessed by the devil.”
The witness said she became alarmed one time when he told her that he “was going to do something.”
“I initially thought he was going to do something to himself,” she said. “He got mad. ‘I was not talking about myself.’ That scared me.”
Under cross examination by defense attorney Dan Hurley, the witness said she told the truth to a Lubbock police detective when questioned about how long she had been having an affair with the victim.
Ms. Garcia said the affair was secret for more than 20 years.
The witness said she intended to start a new life and moved out “for good” in March 2015. The couple’s divorce was finalized later that year.
District Judge William Eichman II excused jurors shortly before 4 p.m. Friday. Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.
Eichman said the trial could end by next Wednesday. Testimony in the case started Tuesday, Dec. 5.
 

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