Defense attorney claims DA Joe Gonzales said he’d reduce murder charge in case of slain 5-year-old

Daniel Garcia was charged in the 2021 murder of 5-year-old Domenic Aguilar-Acevedo

SAN ANTONIO – Confusion in a child death case from 2021 has been playing out in local courts over the last few weeks, according to court records obtained by KSAT.

Five-year-old Domenic Aguilar-Acevedo was allegedly killed in San Antonio back in July 2021 and his body was found months later in a Colorado ravine.

The child’s mother, Nickolle Aguilar, and her boyfriend, Daniel Garcia, are charged in the case.

Nickolle Aguilar was charged with injury to a child.

Nickolle Christina Aguilar, 25. (Bexar County Jail)

Garcia is charged with murder, according to the 2021 indictment and 2023 re-indictment.

On Sept. 20, a discovery hearing was held for Daniel Garcia in Bexar County’s 226th District Court to sort through evidence issues.

In that hearing, Garcia’s attorney, Michael Gross, asked the judge for notes from a meeting that Garcia’s first defense attorney on the case apparently had with District Attorney Joe Gonzales. That’s according to a court transcript obtained by KSAT.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales. (KSAT)

When Judge Velia Meza asked for clarification, Gross said that Javier Oliva was Garcia’s first attorney on the case and told him he met with Gonzales about the charge, according to the transcript.

Mr. Gross: So Joe meets with Oliva in Joe’s office --

The Court: Joe Gonzales?

Mr. Gross: Joe Gonzales, the DA.

The Court: -- meets with Mr. Oliva, first attorney to Mr. Garcia?

Mr. Gross: That’s exactly right.

The Court: Okay.

Mr. Gross: According to Oliva, Joe says, ‘look, the murder charge is a mistake. We’re going to reduce those charges.’ And if that’s the case, we would like the notes on it.

Judge Meza asked the state to clarify and the prosecutor, Amanda Vasquez, said she wasn’t aware of any meeting. Meza ordered her to find out.

On Wednesday, a follow-up hearing was held on the evidentiary issues and Meza asked the state if anything was discovered about the alleged meeting.

“I had asked about this and I haven’t gotten a response yet whether Mr. Gonzales met with prior attorney,” Vasquez said.

KSAT emailed the District Attorney’s office requesting an interview with Gonzales and we were told the office doesn’t comment on pending cases.

Michael Gross also declined an interview after Wednesday’s hearing, saying he can’t comment because case is still open.

KSAT 12 spoke with Javier Oliva, the defense attorney who reportedly met with Gonzales, on the phone. He also said he didn’t want to do an interview or comment on the case.

According to online court records, his representation of Garcia ended in July 2022.

Garcia’s case has no trial date as evidence issues still need to be cleared up as well as well as getting an answer if a meeting between Oliva and Gonzales ever took place.

The case will be called back on Oct. 31.

As for Nickolle Aguilar, a trial date has been set in her case. Jury selection is expected on Feb. 16, 2024. If she is found guilty she is facing up to life in prison.

About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.