Testimony in retrial of controversial murder case set to begin

Miguel Martinez accused in shooting death of UTSA graduate student

By Paul Venema - Reporter, Misael Gomez - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Testimony is set to begin Tuesday in the retrial of a 2015 murder case.

Miguel Martinez, 30, is accused of shooting Laura Carter, 33, five times in the head on the evening of Jan. 11, 2015, as she sat in her car on a street on the city's Southeast Side.

Prosecutors said the slaying stemmed from a botched drug deal.

Martinez's first trial in February 2017 ended in a mistrial when his lawyer, Joe Gonzales, accused then Bexar County District Attorney "Nico" La Hood of prosecutorial misconduct.

Gonzales claimed that LaHood failed to disclose information to which he insisted the defense was entitled.

The first trial sparked a heated feud between Gonzales and LaHood.

Gonzales would go on to run for Bexar County District Attorney in 2018 and defeated LaHood in the Democratic primary election. Gonzales defeated his Republican opponent in the November general election and is now district attorney.

Because of Gonzales' prior involvement in the case, Senior Judge W.C. Kirkendall, appointed attorney Jason Goss as special prosecutor in Martinez's new trial.

Goss, who is currently in private practice and a part of LaHood's law firm, prosecuted Martinez's first trial as a member of LaHood's staff in the DA's office.

Although he refused to discuss the case during jury selection Monday, Goss said after a pretrial hearing in July that, "This one has been particularly challenging because of the prosecutorial history."

If he is convicted, Martinez could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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