Jury Seated In More Than Decade Murder Case - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/8/08

Jury Seated In More Than Decade Murder Case

The body of Eva Camacho Garcia was found outside a downtown Lubbock church, more than 12 years ago. On Monday, her family and friends are again faced with that tragic day.

Jury selection began in the capital murder trial of Albert Martinez. He is charged in the death of Garcia, whose naked body was found outside the Central Baptist Church in the 1800 block of Ave M.

Monday December 8, 2008 the crime tape is long gone. But on October 27, 1996, a secretary from the Baptist church found 45-year-old Eva Camacho Garcia's body lying in the bushes. For years, this crime went unsolved, until new technology pointed investigators to Albert Martinez.

Years after advancement in technology and hours of police work, jurors, attorneys and Martinez walked into the 364th District Court in the Lubbock County Courthouse on Monday. This comes more than 12 years after Garcia's naked body was found outside the Central Baptist Church just before Sunday services.

Former Lubbock Police Spokesman Bill Morgan said, "The woman's body with articles of clothing was found in proximity. At this point the cause of death remains unknown." At the time, an autopsy showed she died of asphyxiation, but the killer remained a mystery.

More than eight years later, police got a break in the case, thanks to new technology not available back in 1996. In 2005, police used DNA evidence to charge Martinez with capital murder. At the time, authorities also charged Martinez with attempted aggravated sexual assault.

Then Assistant District Attorney Matt Powell said, "It's really satisfying to us when we can get an old case like this solved. I came to Lubbock in 1995 and I've told many people that this young lady's body was the first body I saw in Lubbock County.  So obviously when you see the type of injuries and the death that she sustained we were satisfied."

At the time, Powell said Martinez admitted to some involvement in Garcia's death. "He did indicate taking responsibility for her death. In kinda a roundabout way he kinda said I take responsibility for what happened and I'm sorry for what happened," Powell said in April 2005.

Fast forward more than three years, attorneys from Texas' first Public Defender office for Capital Cases-based here in Lubbock represent Martinez in court. It's the first case to go trial from this office, since opening more than a year ago. On Monday, the public defender's office has ten cases pending across West Texas, including this one.

This, for Garcia's family and friends, means reliving their painful loss all over again. "I know she's never going to be replaced, it's just we love her so much and we miss her so much," Maryane Garcia, Eva's daughter said in April 2005.

A jury was seated late Monday afternoon. Opening arguments are expected to start Tuesday morning. Instead of the death penalty, now District Attorney Matt Powell will seek life in prison.

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