Friday, September 25, 2015
AZMEX F&F EXTRA 25-9-15
AZMEX F&F EXTRA 25 SEP 2015
Sep 25, 8:45 PM EDT
Judge casts doubt on evidence in border agent's killing
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A federal judge in the trial of two men accused in the death of a Border Patrol agent questioned Friday whether the prosecution can prove the defendants committed some crimes alleged in the charges.
Judge David C. Bury said prosecutors would need to provide sufficient evidence on several of the nine charges the men face, including first-degree murder.
Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, also known as Lionel Portillo-Meza, and Ivan Soto-Barraza are the first to go on trial in the killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose death brought to light a government operation that allowed criminals to buy weapons with the intention of tracking them.
Instead, federal agents lost about 1,400 guns, including two found at the scene of Terry's killing.
The judge questioned the charges of attempted interference of commerce by robbery filed by the prosecution over claims that the men participated in a "rip crew," a gang that robs drug smugglers.
The government alleges that Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza were two of the five-man crew that was planning to rob smugglers when Terry and three other agents interfered.
The agents were part of an elite tactical unit that had been in the southern Arizona desert for two days on a mission to arrest a rip crew.
The judge questioned whether there was sufficient evidence that the men were in a rip crew when there "is no drug courier, there is nobody to rob."
Bury requested a positions statement and trial will resume on Monday with the final two prosecution witnesses.
Also on Friday, FBI Agent Michelle Terwillger testified that DNA and fingerprints from backpacks left at the scene belonged to Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza.
Defense attorney Ramiro Flores has said the defendants fled when shots were fired and they did not initiate the firefight.
The gunfight began when an agent yelled "policia" at the men and they refused to stop. An agent then fired bean bags, which are not deadly, and members of the rip crew began firing from assault rifles, authorities said.
It appears Terry never had a chance to fire. He died of a gunshot wound to his back.
Terwillger's testimony comes two days after former Agent William Castano broke down in tears as he described desperately trying to save Terry's life.
Castano was the leader of the operation. The team was set to be relieved in an hour when the shooting occurred.
Note: Desert dwellers will find this one especially interesting.
Posted: Sep 25, 2015 1:57 PM MST
Updated: Sep 25, 2015 1:57 PM MST
Investigator testifies in trial of men in agent's death
Written By Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A crime scene investigator has testified about collecting evidence from a fatal shootout that resulted in the death of a Border Patrol agent.
FBI agent Michelle Terwillger testified Friday in Tucson federal court in the trial of two men charged in Brian Terry's 2010 death.
It is the first criminal trial in Terry's killing, which brought to light a federal operation that allowed criminals to buy weapons with the intention of tracking them. Instead, they lost about 1,400 guns, including two found where Terry was killed.
Terwillger said it's hard to find crime-scene evidence in the desert.
He said investigators couldn't locate all the shell cases from 11 rounds fired by one agent at five men authorities say were planning to rob drug smugglers.
Brian Terry trial expected to last two weeks
By Ally Aldrete.
CREATED Sep 24, 2015
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The trial continued on Thursday for two men involved in the shooting death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010.
Prosecutors say they have DNA evidence these two men were at the scene of Terry's murder.
Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Mesa and Ivan Soto-Barraza are both in Federal Court for trial.
Two of the guns found on scene that night were linked to a federal program called "Operation Fast and Furious," that sold guns to criminals in hopes of tracking them after.
On Thursday, Terry's family spoke to us about what the trial has been like.
"It is difficult, we are hearing about how Brian died, the firefight that led to his death and the efforts to save Brian after he was shot," said Robert Heyer, the cousin of Brian Terry.
The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
Two other men from the scene are still on the loose.