Closing arguments next in Salas trial

By Kevin Wilson, Freedom New Mexico

Lawyers will deliver closing arguments this morning in the first-degree murder trial of Edward Salas, accused in the 2005 shooting death of a 10-year-old Clovis boy.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday afternoon, and the defense followed suit after nearly three hours of testimony in a Curry County courtroom from Salas, 23, and investigators.

If convicted, Salas faces a minimum of 30 years in prison, and would be the third brother convicted in the shooting.

Morning witnesses included Salas’ mother, Lisa Salas, and crime scene investigators.

With both Salas members, District Attorney Matt Chandler attempted to show statements they made Thursday conflicted with statements made during the investigation and previous trials.

Edward Salas admitted he made statements that were not true to investigators because he was afraid. Chandler felt the gravity of the situation required honesty.

“Anytime someone was going to talk to you,” Chandler told him during cross-examination, “it was very important (to be honest) … because this was the death of a 10-year-old boy.”

Perez was shot in the early morning hours of Sept. 15, 2005, and died later that day in a Lubbock hospital. Authorities contend the intended target of the attack was Carlos’ older brother, Ruben Perez.

Edward Salas said he didn’t know why two girls, Ashley Garcia and Cassandra Flores, testified he was involved in the shooting, but felt he created a conflict by telling Noe Torres — who is also charged in the case but remains at-large — it was trouble to be hanging out with “little girls.”

Chandler said he would be surprised any conflict would be enough for two girls to frame him for murder given that Salas traveled through Clovis with them while he delivered marijuana and guns to acquaintances at two separate residences.

Earlier in the day, Lisa Salas testified she did not know the family’s Suburban was missing until 8:07 a.m. on Sept. 15, when her husband, Isidoro “Lolo” Salas, reported it stolen.

Edward Salas had previously told investigators he received phone calls from his mother six hours earlier regarding the vehicle theft, Chandler said.

On Thursday, Lisa Salas said she didn’t see Edward Salas between coming home from work at 12:30 a.m. and going to bed at 1:30 a.m.
Chandler showed transcripts of testimony from a previous trial that she had seen all three sons — Demetrio, Orlando and Edward — in their beds before she went sleep.

“I lied, I guess,” she told Chandler.

In the defense’s case, attorney Steve McIlwain pressed investigators on items they may have overlooked.

Investigators said no footprints of evidentiary value were found, and investigator Sandy Loomis said gunpowder residue tests at the Perez household and on Edward Salas were inconclusive.