Convicted cop killer Victor Godinez nicknamed ‘Trooper’ in jail

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Victor Godinez walks out of the courtroom handcuffed and escorted by Hidalgo County detention officers during a break in proceedings during the punishment phase of his trial in the death of Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez in the 389th state District Court on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

EDINBURG — “Ask for Trooper. That’s what they call me. That’s my jail name.”

That was heard in a recording from a phone conversation between two unnamed individuals — one of whom is believed to be Victor Alejandro Godinez — played in court Wednesday afternoon outside of the presence of the jury. 

The conversation was one of two recordings that the prosecution attempted to enter into evidence, but State District Judge Letty Lopez decided that she would not allow the audio to be played before the jury.

Godinez shot Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez on April 6, 2019. Sanchez died on Aug. 24, 2019 following surgery in a Houston hospital related to his recovery. 

Prosecutors were attempting to show that Godinez was going by the name “Trooper” while in jail. 

Prior to their attempts to submit the phone conversations for evidence, prosecutors attempted to submit a total of seven copies of letters, including letters that were allegedly written by Godinez and letters that were addressed to Godinez. 

Matthey Mason, a custodian working in the mailroom for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, was called to testify regarding the letters. He explained that letters sent to inmates were scanned and copied, and the original copies were destroyed after about a week.

Defense attorneys objected to the letters being submitted. They argued that Mason could not authenticate the letters, specifically that Godinez had penned the letters. 

Prosecutors and the defense argued for over an hour outside of the presence of the jury before Lopez decided that only one letter would be allowed to be submitted into evidence. The letter, which was allegedly penned by Godinez, was completely redacted except for the envelope that contained the letter and the signature on the last page that read, “Trooper.”

Early in the afternoon, prosecutors called upon Officer Roberto Reyes, Sgt. Sandra Tapia, and Investigator Jesse Moreno, all from the Edinburg Police Department. All three witnesses had previously testified and shared their experiences from April 6, 2019.

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Prosecutors now asked each witness to explain how the events of that evening have since affected them.

Reyes, who was among the first to respond to the scene and rendered aid to Sanchez, said that he is able to continue his duties as a police officer, but he is still seeing a psychologist to this day. 

“The events that I went through that night affected me more than I thought it would,” he said Wednesday. 

Tapia was involved in a shootout with Godinez following a lengthy manhunt and had to receive medical treatment for an injury to her elbow. She recalled having trouble sleeping following the shooting and her struggles with work following some time off.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be a cop anymore,” she said, her voice shaking as she spoke.

That evening, Tapia had been searching for Godinez with Moreno, who returned fire during the shootout. 

Moreno said that he took some time off after the shooting and saw a counselor, but he did not continue with the sessions when he returned to work. 

“Personally, it was not useful,” Moreno said. “There’s really nothing you can do.” 

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.


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