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Murder trial continues

Two witnesses testified Tuesday afternoon that Pedro Garcia Jr. of Levelland admitted to them that he  shot Orestes “West” Garza outside a Lubbock church on Feb. 7, 2016.
The witnesses’ statements capped the first full day of testimony in the trial of Garcia, which is being held in Lubbock. The defendant is charged with murder.
Telesforo “Bucky” Bocanegra said he was at his father-in-law’s home in Sundown for a Super Bowl party when Garcia arrived there after 7 p.m. the day of the shooting.
Bocanegra, who was a co-worker with Garcia at Apache Corp. at the time, said the defendant told him that he had “chased him down” and shot Garza.
“He said, ‘I shot West,’ ” said the witness. “I couldn’t believe it. I asked him why. He kinda looked away. He said I want to get away.”
Bocanegra said he urged Garcia to contact police about the shooting. The defendant said he was going to his sister’s house and left a short time later.
The witness said he went inside the house and called a hotline in Lubbock before calling Sundown police about the incident.
Another Apache Corp. employee, Michael David Payne of Brownfield, said Garcia had worked under him as a pumper since 2010. He said Garcia was a dependable employee who always showed up for work.
Payne said he got a phone call from Garcia the evening of the shooting.
“He said he wouldn’t be working for Apache any more,” said Payne. “He said he’d killed him (Garza).  He seemed emotional; he was loud on the phone. I said I would pray for him. I asked him to turn himself in.”
The witness said  he was aware that Garcia had gotten a divorce from his wife some time before the shooting. Payne said Garcia came to him one day and told him that he had gotten in a fight with the victim.
“He said he lost it and got in a fight,” Payne stated. The defendant  allegedly went to a residence where his son, Josh, got into a struggle with Garza.
Police Detective Michael McGowan told the jury that he found blood on a sidewalk outside St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, where the shooting took place. Two empty shell casings for a .380-caliber handgun were also recovered.
Prosecutor Barron Slack asked the detective about evidence collected during the investigation. 
The evidence included two boxes of .380-caliber ammunition, and an empty box for a Browning handgun of the same caliber. The state contends that Garcia bought a handgun some time before the slaying.
McGowan said authorities recovered a calendar from a Holly Street home in Levelland. He confirmed that it contained  numerous notations about the defendant’s ex-wife.
Garcia entered a plea of not guilty to the charge before testimony started in the 72nd District Court.
The state called nine witnesses to the stand Tuesday.

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