Prosecutors: Man’s stories didn’t match up during murder probe
September 20, 2005
Blood discovered in a bedroom indicates Joel Bravo was shot where he was found, a fact that pokes a hole in one story Acevedo Javier Garcia told authorities about the murder, a prosecutor in Garcia’s felony trial said Tuesday.
Deputy District Attorney Tony Sears, who is trying to convince a jury of 12 women that Garcia hid information from authorities about Bravo’s January murder, questioned South Lake Tahoe police Detective Brad Williams regarding the crime scene.
Previous testimony by Officer Mike Dente, using information from March interviews with Garcia, inferred Garcia saw Bravo shot on a bed, crawling then falling halfway off the bed.
But the only visible blood found in the bedroom of Bravo’s apartment on Spruce Avenue on Jan. 16 was on his face and a pool under his head.
“There was no splatter or droplets of blood which can happen with gunshot wounds,” Williams said.
Garcia, in his second day of trial, is charged with accessory – an attempt to conceal information – which carries a maximum time in state prison of three years.
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Defense attorney Lori London said her client was made nervous by overbearing investigators determined to get a story of their liking during two interviews on two consecutive days in March.
After the first interview on March 16, Garcia was arrested and charged with murdering Bravo after initially telling authorities he wasn’t at the apartment where Bravo was shot. Dente testified that authorities believe Bravo was at the apartment with one or two other men to buy drugs.
Authorities have since abandoned their suspicion that Garcia murdered Bravo, but London said the arrest was a tactic used to spook her client.
London also focused on a recording at the end of an interview in which Dente thanked Garcia, and remarked “… I think you gave me a pretty good picture of what happened that night.”
Dente testified about striking up a rapport with people he interviews, asking about their likes and favorite sports, so he can differentiate truth-telling behavior from the behavior of someone telling lies.
By listening and looking at Garcia, Dente testified he could determine when Garcia was untruthful.
Garcia is still in custody at El Dorado County Jail without bail but wears plain clothes during trial. He dons headphones to listen to a nearby interpreter.
The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today at El Dorado County Superior Court.
A dozen officers have worked on South Lake Tahoe’s only murder this year, but no one has been charged with the murder.