By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
The defense began its case Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of two Clovis men by calling the mother of one of the defendants.
Lisa Salas testified she saw her sons, Demetrio and Orlando Salas, in bed the night Carlos Perez was killed while he slept.
Demetrio Salas, 21, and David Griego, 31, are on trial for their roles in Perez’ death. After pleading guilty in the case last year, Orlando Salas, 17, refused to testify last week, which could jeopardize his sentence, officials said.
Edward Salas and Noe Torres are also charged in the September 2005 death and face a later court date.
Arriving home from work just after 12:30 a.m. Sept. 15, 2005, Lisa Salas said she saw her husband’s Suburban in the driveway and her sons in bed as she made her way to her bedroom.
She said her oldest son, Edward, was also home, though she admitted the door to his room was closed. She said Edward got up around 1 a.m. and told her he was going to go sleep at another house. Lisa Salas testified she later heard Edward Salas return around 4 a.m.
Perez was shot about 2:30 a.m., according to police.
Lisa Salas said she was arrested Sept. 16 when she arrived at the high school with Orlando.
“The police, they all came — they took Lando out of the car and they took me out of the car,” she said. Lisa Salas said after her son was in custody, police told her she was free to go.
Prior to her taking the stand, District Attorney Matt Chandler told the judge he believes Lisa Salas had been discussing her testimony with her husband and had not observed witness protocol.
“Your honor, she’s been talking to her husband about this case,” he said. “Her testimony is, I can only imagine, going to be pretty identical to his.”
In response to Chandler’s argument, the judge allowed the prosecutor to question Salas about her interaction with other witnesses in the case.
She acknowledged she had discussed the written statement she gave to police with her husband, but not since the trial began. She also acknowledged she had been reading newspaper accounts of trial testimony.
Isidoro “Lolo” Salas gave a similar account Monday of the evening leading up to the shooting.
The defense is expected to call one more witness Tuesday afternoon before attorneys will begin hashing out jury instructions.
The prosection rested its case earlier Tuesday.
It is expected closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning.