First criminal jury trial in a year

In-person jury trials begin again

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It has been about a year since a jury trial has been held in Lubbock County. Beginning today, March 1, 2021, a jury is being selected for a case involving an Abernathy father accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Joe Gregory Salinas, 42, has been in jail since February 3, 2018 - more than three years. The alleged sexual assault happened in April 2017. Salinas is a registered sex offender, according to court documents. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jury selection began this morning at the Lubbock County Civic Center - a place where a jury can be selected, but where they can also be socially distanced.

According to court documents, the victim told police the abuse began at Easter in 2017, in April, and “happened every day” until the police report was filed, in August 2017.

Salinas told investigators the abuse with the juvenile never happened. When investigators asked him to take a polygraph, and he asked what it was. After it was explained, Salinas said he did not want to take one, but would think about it. After a day, he decided to take the polygraph and it was scheduled. On the day of the polygraph, he called the investigator and said he changed his mind.

During the investigation, officers asked Salinas to explain why he had to register as a sex offender. Salinas told police that in 1996 he was charged with a burglary with intent to commit an offense. He had been oud drinking with his friends and when he got home, he noticed a missed call on his caller ID. He said it was a “party girl” who hung out with them. He said he went to her house and just walked in. He said the sister the the “party girl” was there with their mother. He said he was drunk and went into one of the bedrooms and laid in the bed. He asked the girl in bed if she was the “party girl”. She said no and ran out of the room. Salinas said the sister ran to the neighbor’s house and the dogs started barking and woke up the mother. He said when police arrived, he was arrested. He was also charged with retaliation due to threatening the neighbors and the family. He got out of prison in 2010.

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