El Paso District Attorney’s Office violated due process rights, defense attorneys for murder suspect say

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Attorneys representing a 20-year-old Juárez resident accused for murder allege the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office violated his due process rights.

Ivan Gabaldon is accused of stabbing Juan Garcia Flores, 63, to death after the two engaged in a paid sexual encounter in February. Gabaldon’s attorneys say he was defending himself when Garcia allegedly forced Gabaldon to do acts he did not consent to while holding a knife.

Gabaldon was originally indicted on a felony murder charge but earlier this month, his charge was elevated to capital murder and the DA’s office is pursuing the death penalty for the 20-year-old.

“(Gabaldon) was indicted for capital murder and the state elected to seek the death penalty as retribution for (Gabaldon) asserting his speedy trial rights guaranteed to him by the 6th and 14th amendment of U.S. Constitution…” the lawsuit said.

Gabaldon’s attorneys are looking to get his case dismissed under a motion filed this week, claiming the DA’s office showed vindictive actions against their client. They’ve also been critical of prosecutors’ handling of the case pointing out that seven different attorneys had overseen the case over an eight-month period.

Last week, the DA’s office had sought more time to review the case after prosecutor Curtis Cox admitted to the 210th court that he had not entirely reviewed the case weeks before the scheduled jury trial. Cox said the DA’s office had not received back results from forensics tests or located witnesses for the trial.

He also offered to allow Gabaldon out of jail on a personal recognizance bond while he continued to review the case.

When Gabaldon’s attorneys objected to giving the DA’s office more time and Judge Alyssa Perez denied the request, Cox announced he would seek the capital murder charge and signaled he would pursue the death penalty for Gabaldon.

“All of these circumstances, when considered together, prove the ‘realistic likelihood’ that the state of Texas punished (Gabaldon’s) request to go to trial when the state was not ready.”

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