Jury begins deliberation in sentencing phase of Suniga trial - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Jury begins deliberation in sentencing phase of Suniga trial


A Lubbock County jury began deliberation in the sentencing phase of Brian Suniga's capital murder trial on Tuesday afternoon.

The jury found 34-year-old Brian Suniga guilty on Thursday, May 16, for the death of 26-year-old David Rowser II in December 2011.

The prosecution said Suniga fatally shot Rowser during a robbery at the One Guy From Italy restaurant on 50th Street, where Rowser was an employee.

The defense began Tuesday's testimony by calling an expert witness to the stand.

The witness described the five different custody levels of general population, G1 being the least restrictive and G5 being highly supervised.

He also stated that inmates sentenced to life without parole would be sent to a maximum security prison while death row inmates are in constant segregation.

When questioned by the prosecution, the witness was asked to describe the violence in the TDC.

He also stated that Tango Blast is one big security threat group to the system because they are loosely organized.

The defense then called Suniga's brother, Michael Suniga, to the stand.

The prosecution was angry that Michael was dressed in a jumpsuit stating, "We have a capital murdered in the room in civilian clothing. What kind of impression are you trying to give?"

Michael was asked to describe the family life he and his brother were subject to.

He said that alcohol and drugs played a major role in their lives.

The prosecution and the defense presented their closing arguments after a short recess for lunch.

The prosecution asked the jury to consider three questions: Will this defendant be a future danger? Was the defendant responsible for the death? Is there sufficient evidence to warrant life over death?

In considering those questions the prosecution told the jury to answer the questions based on evidence and to protect society. 

The defense argued that Suniga had no choice in what family he was born into and that he drew from the destructive men that were a part of his life.

While the defense agrees that Suniga must be responsible for his actions, the defense also told the jury, "You don't have to kill him (Suniga) to punish him."

RELATED STORY: Suniga family members testify in punishment phase

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