A man is on trial this week for capital murder in connection to an aggravated robbery in September 2011 that left the victim dead.
Mario Gamez, 28, is facing life in prison. He is one of two men charged in the killing of Bernard Gonzales, 51, who was found lying unconscious Sept. 8 in the 2100 block of East Fourth Street in East Austin.
Outside of the courtroom Tuesday, Gamez’s attorney, Brad Urrutia, said the victim sold his GMC Extended Cab pickup to the Gamez in exchange for $200 worth of crack cocaine. “The world that Mario Gamez and Bernard Gonzales live in is very different from the one we live in,” he said. “It’s not the suburbs. It’s not clean.”
But prosecutors say Gonzales, who was known to hang around the area and sleep in his truck, was the victim of a robbery.
Authorities say Gamez and an accomplice, John Salinas, stole Gonzales’ truck and personal belongings. He was found face down and unconscious on the side of the street, and his injuries were extensive, consistent with having been struck by a moving vehicle, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
He was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge, where he died eight days later as a result of blunt-force trauma.
Gamez and Salinas were spotted Sept. 10 after police responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle.
Witnesses told officers the men parked the pickup and ran away. Police found Gamez hiding in the back seat of a nearby silver Toyota Corolla, the affidavit says.
Gamez told police he drove in Gonzales’ truck and that Salinas, then 20, was the passenger, court records said. Gamez admitted “to having previously committed robberies where his intent was to take the victim’s vehicle and sell it for parts,” the affidavit said.