Witness: Macias did it

Prosecution witness Daniel Garcia testifies Wednesday at the Curry County Courthouse during the first day of a homicide trial. Garcia testified he was with homicide defendant Robert Macias at time of shooting. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

The prosecution’s opening witness testified Wednesday he and homicide defendant Robert “Pelon” Macias shot at a vehicle being driven by Wilfred Salas Jr. in the early morning hours on Jan. 15, 2006.

“I shot a round — to this day I can’t tell you why,” Daniel Garcia said. “The kid (Salas) stopped (at the stop sign), and he must have got hit right when he stepped on the gas or something because then I saw him veer off. … Robert turned to me and told me, ‘I got him, I got him — let’s go, let’s go.’ We got in the car, and he said, ‘Go, go, go, get out of here.’ I was driving fast.”

Police found Salas slumped over in the driver’s seat in a parking lot at Merriwether and Seventh streets with a gunshot wound to the back of the head. He died later at a Lubbock hospital.

Macias, 31, is charged with first-degree murder. Garcia, 26, faces felony charges in connection with the slaying.

Garcia said he is not receiving a deal from the prosecution in exchange for his testimony.

“I told the truth to a point, (but I left out) the parts that incriminated myself,” Garcia testified about his initial statements to police. “(I decided to tell the truth) after my mom talked to me. I just got lost and I didn’t do the right thing. I have to do this. … Snitches get killed in jail — that’s exactly what I’m facing.”

Garcia said the incident started when Macias got into a dispute with a group of people at Kelley’s Bar & Grill. He said Macias was still fuming about the incident at a friend’s house on Rencher Street when he overheard a group of people in a neighboring house making fun of him.

“They were talking about how they’d just punked Pelon,” Garcia said. “He was getting more mad — he was pacing, walking around with the gun.”

A short time later a car driven by Salas drove slowly down the street in front of the home. They believed it might be members of the group from earlier, Garcia testified.

“(Robert) said, ‘(Expletive) that, if they want some, let’s get it,’” Garcia said. He said Macias shot once from the porch and then two more times as he walked into the road behind the car.

Garcia will resume his testimony today under cross-examination by the defense.

In opening arguments, defense attorney James Klipstine Jr. told jurors Macias was at a friend’s house with his wife and passed out from drinking when the shooting occurred.

“The state has accused Robert Macias of being involved (in the shooting) — Robert wasn’t there. Every one of the witnesses that takes the stand in the state’s case are liars. … Robert Macias wasn’t there — he wasn’t there,” Klipstine told jurors.

The jury: 11 women and three men. Two of them are alternates and will be released at the onset of deliberations if they are not needed.

What’s next: The prosecution is expected to call more witnesses today.