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Murder trial witness: 'I heard 5 or 6 shots that were really loud'

Testimony begins in murder retrial of Miguel Martinez

The first state's witness in the murder trial of Miguel Martinez described Tuesday a dinner he said he would never forget.

"Right when I was sitting down to eat, that's when I heard five or six gunshots that were really loud, so we knew it was gonna be fairly close," Luis Castillo said on the witness stand.

Castillo said when he looked outside, he saw a Hispanic male wearing a hoodie leave the scene in a white van along with a car.

The shots Castillo heard were close, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors claim Martinez, 30, shot Laura Carter, 33, as she sat in her car parked on the street in front of Castillo's Southeast Side home on the evening of Jan. 11, 2015.

"She has five bullet holes in her head -- one, two, three, four, five -- one right through her mouth," prosecutor Jason Goss told the jury during opening arguments.

Goss said Carter was addicted to heroin and Martinez was her drug dealer, with whom she had met just minutes away from the murder scene 30 minutes before Castillo heard the shots.

Goss said Carter had been trying to negotiate a drug-selling partnership with Martinez.

Instead of taking her money as an investment in the deal, Martinez shot Carter to death, prosecutors said.

Martinez's lawyer, Joel Perez, argued that Castillo's description of a suspect was not enough to convict his client.

"The evidence is going to show that all he says he sees is a Hispanic young male in San Antonio, at dusk, in a hoodie, maybe with a beanie," Perez said. "He does not identify Miguel."

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday in the 437th District Court with Senior Judge W.C. Kirkendall presiding.

If Martinez is convicted on a murder charge, he could face a maximum punishment of life in prison.


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Paul Venema

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