Trial begins for San Antonio car shop owner accused of killing associate
A San Antonio car shop owner accused of killing his business associate in 2015 pleaded not guilty as his murder trial opened Wednesday.
David James Gomez, 49, was arrested in November, more than two years after the fatal shooting of Isaias Flores, 42, from a gunshot wound to the torso, allegedly after the two men argued.
San Antonio police said at the time of Gomez’s arrest, he called in a report on April 7, 2015, the night of the killing, that someone was on the way to the Mercedes Service shop in the 900 block of Bitters Road on the North Side to “cause harm.”
As authorities were on the way to the scene, Gomez again called police to say that he shot the man in self-defense, inside the business.
When police and emergency responders arrived, Gomez flagged officers and told them he had just shot the victim, who was still inside, indicated video of the crime scene that was shown to the jury.
Gomez pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
“Self-defense is not a shield you stand behind when you commit murder,” prosecutor Stephanie Franco told the jury in her opening statement.
She pointed out that Gomez told detectives on the scene that Flores, also known as Isaac, was “so mad, his face was so red,” that he had to shoot. When asked if Flores was armed, Gomez responded, “No.”
Gomez and Flores had been business partners for about three years in 2015, hauling fracking sand to the Eagle Ford Shale, and Flores wanted out because Gomez allegedly hired a driver that Flores did not like, Franco said.
She told the panel text messages between the men leading up to the killing indicated Flores wanted to get out of the business, but Gomez wanted him to stay. Although Gomez said some of the exchanges were threatening, Franco disagreed.
Franco told the panel they would hear from witnesses who heard increasingly embellished stories from Gomez about how the incident occurred.
“Why would he need to keep changing his story to make it bigger and bolder,” Franco said.
In his opening statement, defense attorney George Shaffer told the jury the evidence would clearly show that what happened was not murder, but an act done in self-defense.
“The evidence will show Isaias was in an uncontrollable rage,” he told the panel. “He physically attacked and assaulted David, David tried to get away, when he (Flores) tried to come over the desk, and David thought, ‘If I don’t defend myself, he’s going to take this gun away from me, I’ll be killed in my office with my own gun.’ ”
The case is being heard in Felony Impact Court, presided by Visiting Judge Dick Alcala.
If convicted, Gomez faces five to 99 years or life in prison.
Elizabeth Zavala is a courts and crime reporter in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @elizabeth2863