POSTED: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:52pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 9:44am
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — A prominent local businessman accused of a deadly hit and run faced his first day of trial Monday, only for District Court Judge Patrick Garcia to excuse the jury because there were court issues that "needed to be worked out."
A prominent El Paso businessman's first day of trial ended with the judge excusing the jury because of 'issues that needed to be worked out.
Issues with the second witnessed surfaced during the trial as State Attorney, Denise Butterworth rephrased questions and as Juan Antonio Milton Martinez answered questions in Spanish. The Defense team, led by prominent Houston-based attorney, Dick DeGuerin, accused the prosecution team of confusing the witness with their questions. Judge Patrick Garcia says he was disappointed with the translator and said, "After 14 years I've never seen such shoddy work."
William "Billy" Abraham is accused of fatally hitting 47-year-old Jay Grady with his white truck on Paisano. Then leading Border Patrol agents on a low speed chase. Agents who arrested him claimed Abraham smelled of alcohol. Abraham's father, prominent El Paso attorney, Joseph "Sib" Abraham has went on record saying his son was not drinking at the time of the accident.
The first witness to take the stand on Monday, Melvin Harris, told jurors he was just a block away from the accident. After the victim went 'flying' to the side of the road, Harris said, he spoke with his wife briefly on his cell phone then tried to follow the white truck.
He also told jurors that the white truck did not brake nor was it swerving.
The second witness to take the stand, Juan Antonio Milton Martinez, claimed he was just feet away from where it all happened. Abraham's defense team claimed at the time of the accident, the street was dark. Milton-Martinez said the victim was staggering across the street and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. He went on to say that the accident was unavoidable because of the way the victim was acting and said,"Whatever needed to happen, happened."
He went on to say he called 911 and tried to get the Grady help. He said he saw the ambulance speaking with the victim, who he claimed was alive at the time.
Grady died at the hospital.
Abraham is facing one count of intoxication manslaughter and one count of accident involving death. The trial resumes at 8:30 am on Tuesday.