Trial set for man accused of killing 5-year-old boy; Defense asks for DA’s WhatsApp conversations

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

SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of killing a 5-year-old boy now has a trial date, but the case still has several unresolved issues.

Daniel Garcia is charged with the murder of Domenic Aguilar-Acevedo, who was allegedly killed in San Antonio back in July 2021.

The child’s body was found months later in a Colorado ravine.

Garcia’s trial is now scheduled for May 3. The next hearing is scheduled Nov. 30.

Aguilar-Acevedo’s mother Nickolle Aguilar was also charged in the case but with injury to a child.

Nickolle Aguilar is scheduled to go to trial first in this case, on Feb. 16, 2024.

If she and Garcia are found guilty they face up to life in prison.

(Left) Daniel Garcia, 27, and Nickolle Christina Aguilar, 25, both face a felony charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury-death. (Palm Beach County/Miami-Dade County Sheriff's Offices) (KSAT)

Issues with the case

Earlier this month, a hearing was held on Garcia’s case.

Garcia’s attorney Michael Gross said that when he spoke with the first defense attorney on the case, Javier Oliva, he told him that District Attorney Joe Gonzales had a meeting regarding the charge.

He said Oliva told him that Gonzales said he would have the murder charge reduced.

In court Tuesday, the new prosecutor on the case Oscar Salinas confirmed a meeting did take place but that nothing was promised.

“When I spoke to Mr. Oliva, he told me that he has not spoken to Mr. Gross and that he also stated that Joe never did say anything about reducing the murder charge or promise anything like that, but that it was concerning the heading of the offense code,” Salinas said.

Gross fired back at Salinas and said he had notes from his meeting with Oliva.

I’ve got notes from a meeting where he said that he spoke to Joe Gonzales and Joe Gonzales said this is not a murder case, and so I’d like all information about that,” Gross said. “I’d like to know if what opposing counsel just said is true, and I was lied to by a prior defense counsel.”

That wasn’t the only information that Gross requested.

He also told 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza he wanted the conversations Gonzales had with his division chiefs about the case on the messaging app WhatsApp.

Meza asked Gross to file a motion to request those conversations, which he said he would.

The case itself also has other evidentiary issues, especially regarding information from the detective on the case and the FBI agents who assisted.

On Nov. 30, the case will be brought back to see if those issues could be sorted out and as well as to have a bond hearing for Garcia.

Background

In 2021, San Antonio police received information from the FBI that a grandmother claimed her five-year-old grandson, Domenic Patrick Aguilar-Acevedo had died at a northeast San Antonio hotel around July 25, records show.

The woman, in an interview with FBI agents in Costa Rica, said that she tracked her daughter down in the Central American country and was informed by Aguilar that Domenic had suffered an “unexplainable death,” the warrant states.

Instead of reporting the boy’s death to authorities in San Antonio, Aguilar and Garcia drove to Colorado the next morning with the body and camped in a public camping area near the Rocky Mountain State Park, records show.

The couple then buried Domenic’s body in a remote location near the campsite and fled by car to Mexico and eventually on to Costa Rica.

Aguilar confirmed the details her mother provided to authorities in Costa Rica and said that she and Garcia did not seek medical help for her child after he had become ill, records show.

An SAPD detective was able to obtain surveillance video from the hotel, an extended stay in the 6900 block of Interstate 35 North, that showed Garcia carrying what appeared to be a lifeless body out of the room and down a stairway, according to the warrant.

Read more about the alleged murder.


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.