Arrest warrant issued for defendant’s mother

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A dozen witnesses took the stand for the prosecution Wednesday in the first-degree murder trial of Edward Salas, accused in the shooting death of 10-year-old Carlos Perez.

Morning witnesses included Edward Salas’ former girlfriend and a man who helped hide a gun authorities believe was involved in the Sept. 15, 2005, shooting.

For most of the afternoon, prosecutors introduced evidence through law enforcement and forensic experts, who detailed the crime scene and injuries to the victim.

However, the afternoon began with the testimony of Isidoro “Lolo” Salas, the defendant’s father.

Salas was pressed by prosecutor Fred Van Soelen on prior testimony he gave at the trial of another son, Demetrio Salas, about where his sons were the night of the shooting. His previous testimony differed from Wednesday’s testimony, Van Soelen said.

Van Soelen noted differences in what time Lolo Salas said he woke the morning of the shooting and in who he said first noticed the family Suburban missing.

In October, he testified he noticed the vehicle missing around 8 a.m. Sept. 15, 2005. Wednesday, he said Edward Salas told him it was missing between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

“You kept cutting me off and I couldn’t express myself the way I wanted to,” Lolo Salas said insisting his testimony was the same.

“If you took an oath to tell the truth both times, which time is true?” Van Soelen asked.

Prosecutors also played a recording of a telephone conversation Lolo Salas had with Edward Salas on Tuesday night where they said Edward Salas told his father to discourage his mother from testifying at the trial.

“Did they serve that lady at the hospital something?” Edward Salas could be heard asking.

His son was referring to Lisa Salas, who is employed at the hospital, being subpoenaed for trial, Lolo Salas testified.

Lolo Salas answered “no” and Edward Salas said, “Just tell her to stay away.”

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday afternoon for Lisa Salas because prosecutors had been unable to serve her with a subpoena to testify, according to an affidavit filed in district court.

The defendant advised his father to keep his mother away from the courthouse during trial in an attempt to keep her from testifying, the affidavit said.

If Lisa Salas is apprehended, she is to be held on $15,000 bail for no more than five days until her testimony can be obtained, according to the warrant.

The prosecution plans to call four police officers and the defendant’s mother, “If she shows up,” today before resting its case, Van Soelen told the judge as the courtroom emptied.

Judge Ted `Hartley told jurors he expects them to begin deliberating Friday.

In addition to first-degree murder, Salas, 23, is charged with attempted murder, shooting at a dwelling or occupied building, two counts of bribery or intimidation of a witness, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to shooting at a dwelling or occupied building.

If convicted he faces a minimum of life in prison.

Highlights from Wednesday’s testimony:

Eric “Nike” Gutierrez, 24, testified that Salas’ two brothers and a third man connected to the homicide came to his house the night of the shooting and asked him to get out a scanner so they could listen to police radio traffic.

Gutierrez said he helped them hide their blue-and-white Suburban in his garage. The next day, he said he and a friend moved the Suburban and parked it on another street.

He said Demetrio Salas, who has been convicted in the case, told him they had hidden a gun under a parked car across the street from Gutierrez’ residence.

Gutierrez said the next day he got the gun and hid it in his cousin’s shed.

Later, he led police to the weapon, a .22-caliber revolver, which his cousin had cut into pieces.

He also said he removed a bag of .22-caliber bullets and a gun holster from the Suburban and destroyed it.

Gutierrez, who also testified Edward Salas was not at his house that night, said his charges of tampering with evidence were dismissed in exchange for his testimony.

• Max Sena said his cousin, Eric Gutierrez, brought a gun to his house and asked him to hold on to it for him. He said he let him hide it in his shed.

After some time passed, he said Gutierrez called him and told him to get rid of it or sell it or something.

“It was old… I used a band saw to cut it up,” Sena said.

Sena said he did not turn the.22 caliber revolver in to authorities and gave the gun back to his cousin, who eventually turned it in to police.

He said he was convicted for his role in hiding the gun.

Martha Carbajal, Edward Salas’ former girlfriend testified, he came to her apartment the night of the shooting.

He was late for dinner plans when he arrived at around 10 p.m. “He was real restless,” she said.

Salas gave her cold medicine to help her sleep and was gone when she woke up around 5:30 a.m.

Later he told her he left because his parents called him because “someone stole the Suburban and whoever stole the Suburban had shot someone,” she said.

• Agent David Loera with the district attorney’s office said he interviewed Edward Salas the morning of the shooting.

Salas told him he was at his girlfriend’s somewhere between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., where they ate dinner and watched a movie.

• Lt. Doug Ford with the Clovis police said he was the first officer to respond to the Perez residence after the shooting. “I found a 10-year-old male on the bed with blood beside his head and a small wound on his temple,” he said.

Ford said he helped to secure the scene, then went to the hospital to take photos of the victim before he was flown to another hospital.

• Curry County Sheriff’s Investigator Sandy Loomis testified he mapped the trajectory of nine bullets fired into Carlos Perez’ window.

Based on film found on the window, left behind after a gun was fired, Loomis estimated the shooter was about two feet from the window.

Bullets hit the footboard of the bed, closet door, mattress and a single, fatal bullet, struck Perez in the head, he said.

• Allison Quereau, a firearms expert formerly with the state forensic laboratory, testified she examined six .22 caliber bullets, four guns and one gun that had been chopped to pieces.

Quereau said two of the weapons, including the chopped revolver, could have made the markings on the bullets she examined.

Under cross-examination from defense, she also testified the .22 caliber bullets she evaluated are extremely common and it is possible another gun could have left the same markings.

The status of others charged in the case:

• Orlando Salas, 18, pleaded guilty to charges related to the shooting in exchange for testimony against his brothers. He is in the custody of the Children Youth and Families Department until age 21.

• Demetrio Salas, 22, was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years in January for first-degree murder. He will be required to serve a minimum of 40 years.

• David Griego, 31, was convicted of second-degree murder in January and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

• Noe Torres, 29, remains at large.