Man accused of killing Orestes 'West' Garza appears in court for deposition hearing

Man accused of killing Orestes 'West' Garza appears in court for deposition hearing

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Levelland man charged with the murder of 51-year-old Orestes "West" Garza appeared in court Wednesday afternoon.

Pete Garcia, Jr. and his attorney, Dan Hurley, requested the deposition of Garcia's ex-wife, Judy Garcia.

Judy witnessed the shooting of Garza outside of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in February of this year.

Investigators said Garza was leaving the church near Broadway and Avenue X around 6 p.m. when 55-year-old Pete Garcia walked-up and shot him. Garza was rushed to the hospital where he later died.

Garza was in the company of his girlfriend, Judy Garcia. Judy had been married to Pete Garcia for 32 years until their divorce became final in October 2015. Judy had been dating Garza since her divorce.

Dozens of church-goers were inside the building at the time, as Mass had just ended. They were asked to stay inside as officers searched the area.

In a statement to police, Judy said Pete had been threatening the couple since the divorce and had assaulted West on a previous occasion. She went on to say that Pete had made numerous calls to her workplace, saying he had purchased a gun and was going to "fix the problem."

Judy said she had just gotten in the car and was waiting for West to come around the other side. She said she saw Garza run past the vehicle as she heard four shots fired. She said Garza was shot in the back.

Police records state that Pete Garcia confessed the murder to a friend and to his son, who notified police.

He then turned himself into the Levelland police before being booked into the Hockley County Jail.

His bond was set at $1 million.

Garcia has since been transferred to the Lubbock County Detention Center.

On Wednesday, Hurley argued that Judy needed to be depose her so they could learn if there are any other witnesses who need to be subpenaed before the murder trial begins.

Hurley told the court they were summoned to appear for a protective order filed by Judy in Hockley County.

Hurley said in that hearing, he asked Judy several questions about the stalking allegations, but her attorney objected.

Hurley said he would like to ask her those questions during a deposition.

Hurley said there is no dispute as to what happened at the scene, but there is a dispute as to why.

Hurley told the court he wants to know, from Judy, if stalking or attempting to obtain information that was affecting their marriage and whether Pete had the right to be in certain public places.

Hurley said the jury will need to know if the shooting death of Garza was a sudden act arising out of passion.

Hurley said in this murder trial, there will be questions as to why this happened and the questions he asked during that protective order hearing are relevant to this murder trial.

The state, however, disagrees with the defendants request to depose Judy.

The state argued that Judy will be called to trial and the defense will have the chance to cross examine her then so there is no reason for the deposition.

The state said Hurley does not have the right to depose Judy in order to prepare for trial or cross examination.

Judge William R. Eichmann II said he will review case law and read over the protective order transcript before making a decision.

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