False info case goes to the jury
September 21, 2005
A jury will continue its deliberation today in the trial of Javier Garcia Acevedo, who is accused of providing false information to authorities to hide circumstances of the January murder of Joel Bravo.
Acevedo, 20, charged with felony accessory, faces up to three years in state prison. Authorities contend Acevedo gave several stories on Bravo’s murder – from he wasn’t in Bravo’s apartment when the murder took place to saying he was there and providing two different stories on who shot Bravo.
Dressed in plain clothes for his trial but still in the custody of El Dorado County Jail, Acevedo briefly took the stand Wednesday as the defense’s lone witness. He testified with help from an interpreter.
Attorney Lori London questioned her client about an interview given by authorities, including an FBI agent who allegedly threatened Garcia.
“She told me she was going to call INS on me and my family and my girlfriend Andrea,” Acevedo said.
“Did she threaten to arrest Andrea?” London asked.
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On cross examination, Deputy District Attorney Tony Sears read from an early portion of the transcript of the interview between Acevedo and the FBI agent. Sears read aloud how the agent said she wasn’t from immigration “so I don’t care if you’re from here or not.”
Garcia also testified that he didn’t request the interview on March 16 to stop, although London highlighted the length of the interview – more than eight hours – as fatiguing and wearing on her client.
The trial was once expected to last two to three weeks but the case was given to the 12 woman jury Wednesday with about two hours remaining in the afternoon to deliberate. The prosecution only called two witnesses: South Lake Tahoe police officer Mike Dente and Detective Brad Williams.
The murder of 23-year-old Joel Bravo, who was suspected of being a drug dealer, played only a supporting role in the trial. Photos of Bravo’s body, encased in a blanket under a pool of blood, were submitted into evidence by the prosecution only to highlight blood patterns. In one of his versions Garcia said he saw Bravo, who was shot in the back of the head, crawling on a bed and falling halfway on the floor.
The two authorities testified heavy blood loss comes with such fatal head wounds, thus marks would have been left on the bed.
Sears said portions of what Garcia told authorities was correct, such as the location where Bravo was murdered and the description of Bravo’s half-closed eyes.
In her closing statement, London said Garcia’s only intent was to protect himself, his family and girlfriend. The pressure from authorities in interviews on March 16 and 17, coupled with being arrested on suspicion of murdering Bravo after the first interview, frightened him into different stories, she concluded.