ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A jury trial is underway for the third suspect accused in the 2015 shooting death of a Manzano High School student.
Esias Madrid is accused of pulling the trigger in shooting that killed 17-year old Jaydon Chavez-Silver at a northeast Albuquerque house party on June 26, 2015.
Prosecutors are trying to send the 19-year old, who’s already serving time for murder, to prison for the rest of his life.
During opening statements at the Bernalillo County District Courthouse on Monday, Assistant District Attorney Penny Gilbert argued that bullets from a gun fired by Madrid killed Chavez-Silver.
While prosecutors and Madrid’s defense are expected to disagree in the scheduled week-long trial, both seemingly agree on the nature of Chavez-Silver’s death.
“Those bullets they weren’t meant to Jaydon,” said Assistant District Attorney Penny Gilbert, “He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“You’re going to learn some awful things in this case,” said Danial Salazar, defense attorney for Esias Madrid.
Prosecutors say Madrid was with a group of four others who were trying to get revenge for a friend who was beat up a week earlier, inside the house that Chavez-Silver was shot in.
“The defendant (Madrid) willingly got roped in,” said Gilbert.
However, the defense says that story is bogus, and they’re hoping to discredit the star-witness who’s expected to tell it.
“The problem with the state’s case, as the evidence will show, is that it relies exclusively on the testimony of Nicholas Gonzales,” said Salazar
Nicholas Gonzales is already serving one-year behind bars for his role in the shooting death. Prosecutors plan on using testimony from Gonzales, who’s said to have been behind the wheel the night of the shooting.
“So what lead up to this night? Jaydon Chavez lost his life that night because a guy named Dominic Conyers got beat up at the same house about a month before,” said Gilbert.
Dominic Conyers, according to prosecutors, was a friend of Nicholas Gonzales. Conyers is now serving 12 years for his role in the case.
“Dominic Conyers got beat up so badly that his friend Nick Gonzales had to drag him out of this party,” said Gilbert. “And Dominic was pretty upset about what happened, he had gotten jumped.”
In court Tuesday, Gilbert said Gonzales will testify that he and Conyers “wanted to retaliate.” Eventually, on the night of the shooting, prosecutors say Gonzales and Conyers picked up Esias Madrid, his girlfriend and another person.
Prosecutors claim the Gonzales and Madrid both fired at the house, but that Gonzales’ gun jammed after a single shot.
“Jaydon was killed by a bullet that came from the gun that the defendant, Esias Madrid, shot into this house,” said Gilbert.
However, the defense argues that Nicholas Gonzales is only trying to save his own skin.
“Quite frankly, we’re here today because Nicholas Gonzales is trying to save his own butt, and in the process getting his own friends off the hook as well,” said Salazar, Madrid’s defense attorney.
The defense admits that Madrid knew Gonzales. However, defense attorney Salazar says the state doesn’t have the physical evidence to prove that Madrid had they gun they claim he did, or fired any gun.
“The evidence will show that Esias Madrid is a patsy and nothing more,” said Salazar. “And I’m going to ask you to consider and ask yourself, how many lies and inconsistencies are you willing to stomach from the state’s witnesses just because you’re going to be outraged about what happened to Jaydon Chavez Silver.”
The trial is expected to last all week with the prosecution presenting its first witness Wednesday.
Madrid is already serving 16 years in prison for his role in a different case. He took a deal, admitting to the murder of an 18-year old in Albuquerque’s South Valley after a fight over a game of beer pong.