The march toward trial moved forward Wednesday as a 25-year-old Edinburg man appeared before a judge for his first pre-trial hearing after the prosecutors announced last month that they would seek the death penalty if the man’s convicted of killing a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper in 2019.
Victor Godinez is charged with capital murder of a peace officer for the death of 49-year-old trooper Moises Sanchez, who died following surgery in Houston on Aug. 24, 2019. Authorities allege Godinez shot Sanchez on April 6, 2019, after a car crash at the corner of North 10th Street and Freddy Gonzalez Drive in McAllen.
During the hearing, state District Judge Letty Lopez considered a motion for discovery and preservation of recorded in-coming telephone calls and dispatch radio communications — one of more than a dozen motions filed since the state made the death penalty announcement.
Godinez’s defense attorneys, O. Rene Flores and Jaime Aleman, are asking that the state preserve all of that evidence, which includes dispatch and 911 calls to the McAllen and Edinburg police departments, as well as communications between a Border Patrol helicopter and a plane with police on the ground generated during the hunt for Godinez after the crash.
Joseph Orendain, a prosecutor, told Lopez that evidence has been turned over to Godinez’s defense team and said they are not contesting the defense request that this evidence be preserved and not destroyed.
Lopez ordered both sides to send her an agreed order to sign by the end of the week.
Godinez is also charged with two counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer over allegations that he shot at two Edinburg police officers, who were not injured, during a manhunt.
He remains jailed on a total of $3 million in bonds and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing next week.
Godinez has appeared via video-conferencing for all of his hearings since March because of the pandemic.
He has entered not guilty pleas to the charges.