Barfly trial day 8: Forensic experts explain DNA, evidence from scene

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) Five expert witnesses were called to the stand Tuesday, as the murder trial against Moises Galvan continued on its eighth day. 

As KTSM previously reported, Rogelio “RJ” Franco Jr. was shot and killed in January of 2017 outside the East El Paso bar, Barfly. 

Court began with Medical Examiner Dr. Janice Diaz taking the stand to testify about the bullets she removed from Franco’s body as photos of Franco lying on the examiner’s table were shown to the jury. 

The family of RJ Franco could be seen shedding tears and embracing one another. 

The defense questioned  Dr. Diaz about blood and urine samples taken from Franco’s body for testing on the night of the shooting. 

Diaz reported alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana were found in his bloodstream.  

The State then called on Dr. Sabrina Frierson to take the stand. Dr. Frierson was the general surgeon to work on David Ortega, the second victim shot that night. 

Frierson recounted the events conspired in the O.R. 

“We put a drain in his pericardial sac then brought him to the C.T. to see if the bullet had injured his heart,” Frierson said. “I took a bullet out of his back.”

She confirmed Ortega sustained three gunshot wounds from the front, all from the same gun. 

Defense attorneys asked if cocaine would make a person more aggressive, to which Dr. Frierson replied “yes.”

The defense continued asking if an individual would become even more aggressive under the influence of alcohol and Dr. Frierson answered, “yes, It’s not a good combination.”

Prosecutors called their third witness, Forensic Chemist Thomas White, based out of Austin to the stand. 

White was the chemist to analyze the gunshot residue kit from Moises Galvan’s hands. He confirmed six gunshot residue particles were found from the gunshot residue kit performed on Galvan.

White told jurors the results were consistent with a person either firing the weapon or being nearby when the weapon was fired.  

Jeffrey Kelly, a crime lab firearm expert with the Texas Department of Public Safety, took the stand next.

Kelly confirmed three bullet shells were in fact fired all from the same source. He added the source was the pistol retrieved from under the black Kia model vehicle from the parking lot the night of the shooting. 

At about 3 p.m. the fifth and final witness of the day, Cathy Serrano a DNA forensic scientist with DPS, took the stand. 

Serrano confirmed she analyzed the cheek swab DNA samples from Galvan, which matched the DNA found on the pistol grip found on the scene. 

However, she said she found two other unknown DNA samples on the pistol grip, but told jurors Franco and Ortega’s DNA was excluded from the findings.

Defense attorneys asked if the swab results meant Franco or Ortega had never previously handled the gun, Serrano said no. 

So far, prosecutors have questioned 16 witnesses in eight days and expect to continue Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. in the 168th District Court of Judge Marcos Lizarraga.

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