Jury deliberates on 1991 murder trial

On Feb. 14, the prosecution responded to the defense’s allegations of conspiring witnesses against the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Laura Bach reminded the jury that even though the government provided witness testimony from the grand jury, the government could not say whatever it wanted. Rules still needed to be followed, she said.

The four week-long triple homicide trial against Benito Valdez, who is charged with first-degree murder while armed, is now in the stage of jury deliberations. The trial began on Jan. 23.

Bach told the jury that while the prosecution should be held to a high standard of proving the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, they were not required to prove anything with absolute certainty since the crimes happened more than two decades ago.

She said the only thing the prosecution had to prove were the elements of the crime. Bach told the jury there was no doubt three people were killed with two separate guns, DNA from the defendant was found on Samantha Gillard‘s clothing, and Michael Green, an eyewitness in the trial, pled guilty to three counts of voluntary manslaughter for the homicides of Curtis Pixley, 29; Keith Simmons, 24; and Gillard, 23 on April 23, 1991.

Furthermore, Bach said multiple witnesses testified that Valdez not only admitted to the homicides, but also to being the sole shooter.

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