Woman stabbed in face testifies in capital murder trial - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Woman stabbed in face testifies in capital murder trial

Ruben Garcia (Provided by Lubbock County Sheriff) Ruben Garcia (Provided by Lubbock County Sheriff)

The capital murder trial for Ruben Garcia continued Wednesday, as four witnesses said they saw Garcia stab one of the victims, Rudy Vela, 28, on October 1, 2009.

Garcia is being charged with two counts of murder for the death of Vela and for the death of Jessica Hernandez, 28. Garcia is also being charged with attempted murder for the injuries to Rachael Diaz, 39.

Diaz survived the incident, but testified Wednesday that she was stabbed several times in the face.

Her daughter, Kimberly Martinez, said her mother had to get a skin graft on her face after being stabbed so badly.

"I had to see my mom's face in stitches from her nose up to her eye," Martinez said.

Diaz, along with her girlfriend of 11 years, Carolyn Veronica Soliz, testified separately Wednesday that they both watched Garcia stab Vela repeatedly.

Earlier that night, witnesses say Garcia had been in an altercation with a man named Paul Christopher Guzman, known as "Goose," over where a bottle of gin was placed.

Garcia became angry and allegedly choked Guzman, after shoving him onto the pool table in Vela's home. Several witnesses testified that they saw Garcia follow in Guzman's direction outside the house with a knife in his hands. When Garcia returned, Diaz asked Garcia to hand over the knife and he did.

In the kitchen later that night, both Diaz and friend David Flores thought Garcia hit Rudy. Diaz and Flores both testified that they saw blood gushing from Vela's neck, and then realized Garcia had stabbed him with a different knife.

Diaz said she stayed to protect her nephew, Vela. Garcia continued to stab Vela repeatedly when he was on the ground. Diaz says Garcia stabbed her in the face until she eventually fell to the ground. Soliz said she watched Garcia stab Vela repeatedly, and stomp on Diaz once she was on the ground.

The defense questioned Diaz's recollection, since it was reported that she and Soliz had smoked "a small amount" of meth that night. It was reported that Garcia was also smoking marijuana with Flores earlier that night, in addition to drinking heavily.

Vela's daughter, Jazllyn Vela, 11, told Newschannel 11 that she did not understand why Garcia killed her father, since he was a friend of the family.

"I feel horrible," cried Jazllyn, "he hurt and killed the one I love."

Vela's teammate, Rolando Rodriguez, celebrated their pool championship win at that night at Tejanos Club 97, then followed Rudy and his friends to the Copper Caboose for a few drinks.

Although Rodriguez had planned on going to Vela's home to continue the celebration, he and his cousin Andy got lost and ended up playing another game of pool at Fast Eddie's Billiards.

Rodriguez and his cousin eventually went to Vela's around 2 a.m., just minutes before he says Garcia stabbed Vela.

"He had an evil face," Rodriguez said. "It is hard for me to describe and hard for me to get out of my memory to be honest with you." He says when Garcia stabbed Vela, "he was advancing like a bull."

Rodriguez said he watched Garcia stab Vela at least six times before he left.

Kenya White was the last person to take the stand Wednesday. White dated Vela on and off since 2002. She showed up at Vela's house at 12:45 that Thursday morning on October 1, 2009.

Although she did not witness any stabbings firsthand, she said she was threatened by Garcia with a knife. White said Garcia held a knife in his hand and asked her, "Do you want some of this?"

She said no and quickly left the scene. She saw Garcia standing over someone, but could not determine if it was a male or female.

The trial continues Thursday.

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