Defense rests in Edinburg man’s death penalty trial for killing DPS trooper

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

EDINBURG — The defense has rested in the sentencing phase of a 29-year-old man convicted of killing Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez.

Attorneys representing Victor Godinez, who was convicted last week of capital murder of a peace officer and two counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer, rested after calling two witnesses on Monday morning.

Godinez was convicted of shooting Sanchez on April 6, 2019. Sanchez died in August following a surgery in Houston. The jury also found that he shot at two Edinburg police officers during his manhunt.

On Monday morning, his cousin Fabiola Guzman Munoz took the stand. She told jurors that Godinez was a good child and even watched her children. She also testified that he once saved her son who had fallen into a swimming pool.

After her testimony, Godinez’s uncle, Ruben Garza Leal, took the stand and described Godinez as being like a son to him. He said he raised Godinez as a little boy and mentioned that Godinez would spend weeks at a time with him. He also said Godinez was loving and protective of his daughter.

“It hurts a lot to see what’s happening,” he said as his voice shook. “I never understood what happened.”

He has not seen or spoken with Godinez in six years and was unaware of his trouble as a teenager.

Following his testimony, Godinez’s attorneys, O. Rene Flores and Jaime Aleman, rested.

Monday marks the 15th day of testimony in the trial where jurors have seen dramatic body and dash cam video of Sanchez’s shooting. They’ve also heard from Godinez, who confessed in an interrogation video.

The jurors also heard how he had been drinking the day of the shooting and one his friends urged him not to drive that night. Godinez didn’t listen and caused a car crash prior to the shooting.

Testimony from medical professionals also indicated that Sanchez’s death was a direct result of his gunshot wound. Godinez shot Sanchez at point blank range in the head and in the shoulder.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are scheduled to present closing arguments Tuesday morning, which will be followed by jury deliberations on sentencing.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The jury can either sentence Godinez to death or to life in prison without parole.


Friend ‘tried to stop’ Godinez from going out on night of trooper’s shooting

Jurors hear about Edinburg man’s jail behavior in death penalty trial