A Lubbock man who has been on death row for six years returned to a Lubbock courtroom Thursday. Joe Franco Garza, Jr. appealed his 2000 death sentence which was recently reversed by a federal judge. Garza claims he was a troubled teen and that his legal team at the time did not do a good enough job using that evidence in his defense.
Garza's capital murder conviction is not at issue.What he is challenging is his death sentence. Prosecutors were busy selecting a jury pool of 125 people. In 11 days, a jury will be carefully selected because death is being considered in this case. The entire process could take up to four weeks.
Garza was found guilty for the 1998 strangling death of 71-year-old Silbiano Rangel. Garza also stole Rangel's truck, and then forged checks on his account. Rangel's body was found in a field in the 7300 block of King Avenue. Garza was arrested less than a month later for the murder.
Garza will be spending the next several weeks away from death row and inside a cell at the Lubbock County jail. District Attorney Matt Powell, who also was the lead prosecutor six years ago, says he will seek the death penalty again.
Powell says Garza can either get life or death in this case.
|Courts & Crime|