SAN ANGELO, TX – Opening statements and initial witnesses took the stand on Tuesday morning for day two of the murder trial of Abel Rueda.
Day 1 concluded on Jan 23, 2022 with Tom Green County District Attorney John Best and local defense attorney Rae Leifeste picking the 13 jurors. Of the jury there are 5 men and 8 women. For the original story see: Trial for Brutal Northside Gang 'Burrito' Shotgun Murder Begins Monday
Day 2 began with opening statements from both sides. Best will be looking to prove Rueda committed the crime so that he can spend the rest of his life behind bars. Leifeste is looking to prove Rueda is innocent. He claims that because no one was around to see the crime committed then there is no way to prove Rueda committed the crime.
The first witness called to the stand was Detective Scott Walton with the San Angelo Police Department. Walston was a former patrol officer for the SAPD and was the first officer to locate Juan Quintana's body. He told the court that around 5:45 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2023 he and his partner had been called to the 2400 block of Pecan for the report of shots fired. They initially did not find anything but later discovered the body laying in the road at 608 E. 20th St.
Body cam footage was showed to the jury. In the video you can see the lifeless body of Quintana as the officers attempted to help him. The detective told the jury that they instantly began cpr but then realized Quintana had a 1-2 in bullet hole in the upper right portion of his chest.
The second witness was local forensic investigator Jude Richard. At the time he was the lead forensic investigator for the SAPD and this case. He described the scene to the jury. He explained that it is likely that Quintana was shot in the middle of the street before stumbling into the grass and dying. This is because police found a trail of blood that led to the body.
Leifeste did however explain to the jury that because no DNA testing was conducted on the blood it is uncertain if it was only Quintana's blood. "Is there a way to prove no one else was with Quintana?" asked Leifeste. Because of the lack of evidence Richard confirmed that he was right. Best however got Richard to say that in his professional opinion it was more than likely Quintana.
The other big piece of evidence was of course the burritos. When first reported San Angelo LIVE! emphasized that the body was surrounded by burritos. For more see: AFFIDAVIT: Stripes Burritos Surround Body After Gangster Blasts Rival with Shotgun.
It seems through the first two witnesses that these burritos from the Laredo Taco Company will play a key role in the trial. The two witnesses both told the jury that it was likely that Quintana walked to his final resting spot from the Stripes at 19th and Armstrong. In photos shown to the jury evidence markers were placed on two half eaten burritos, the burrito sack, and left over Barbacoa on the asphalt.
The court took a break at around 10:30 a.m. and will resume with more witnesses shortly. Stay tuned in to San Angelo LIVE! for all of the updates on the trial.