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Attorneys for Zavala-Garcia file motion to keep prosecutors from seeking death penalty

Updated: Mar. 27, 2019 at 2:49 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Attorneys for a man accused of murdering a 10-year-old Bullard girl have filed motions to keep prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.

Last week, attorneys for Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 26, filed an application requesting a change of venue for his trial and a motion requesting that the statements made during his interrogation be thrown out.

Zavala-Garcia is charged with capital murder in connection with the death of Kayla Gomez-Orozco. Kayla went missing during a Nov. 1, 2016, prayer service at a church in Bullard. Her body was later found in a water well at Zavala-Garcia’s home on FM 2493.

On March 19 and March 20, attorneys also filed motions to preclude the death penalty and preclude the prosecution from seeking the death penalty.

Gustavo Zavala-Garcia regresa al tribunal por una audencia preliminar
Gustavo Zavala-Garcia regresa al tribunal por una audencia preliminar

According to the documents, attorneys are asking the court to preclude the death penalty “due to the impossibility of investigating and collecting essential mitigating evidence in Mexico ... .”

Zavala-Garcia was born and raised in southern Guanajuato State, on the border of the state of Michoacan - an area that defense attorneys say is in the crosshairs of cartel conflict.

Attorneys say critical life history witnesses and other key witnesses live in areas “so violent and dangerous that it is impossible to carry out a reasonably safe and constitutionally effective mitigation investigation there.”

They argue that educational, medical and other records would not be available without that investigation - information defense attorneys say is important to provide a full picture of Zavala-Garcia’s character.

Lawyers argue that a capital trial without that investigation would violate Zavala-Garcia’s rights.

The maximum penalty for capital murder that would be applicable to the case is life in prison without the possibility of the parole, the document states.

Kayla Gomez-Orozco (Source: Family)
Kayla Gomez-Orozco (Source: Family)

RELATED:

+Zavala-Garcia attorneys seek change of venue, suppression of statements

+Zavala Garcia trial pushed back again, DNA testing continues

+Search warrant: Bloodstains, DNA collected in Kayla Gomez-Orozco case

+Capital murder charge filed against suspect in Kayla Gomez-Orozco case

+Arrest warrant: Suspect in Kayla Gomez-Orozco case took polygraph test

+VIDEO: Suspect in Kayla Gomez murder removed from jail roof

+Murder suspect Zavala-Garcia appears in court, DNA testing continues in case

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