Zavala Garcia trial pushed back again, DNA testing continues

Gustavo Zavala- Garcia. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Gustavo Zavala- Garcia. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Updated: Mar. 21, 2018 at 6:42 PM CDT
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Kayla Gomez-Orozco. (Source: Family Photo)
Kayla Gomez-Orozco. (Source: Family Photo)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A man accused of murdering a 10-year old girl was back in Smith County court on March 21.

In November of 2016, Gustavo Zavala Garcia was charged with capital murder for the death of Kayla Gomez Orozco.

This was the first pre-trial hearing since January, when the trial's start date was pushed back to October.

The capital murder trial for Zavala Garcia is now being pushed back for the third time.

In this morning's pre-trial hearing, attorneys for the defendant asked for a continuance in the case after Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said the Texas Department of Public Safety is still conducting forensic testing.

"They confirmed on March 19, this month that the trace analysis would be completed or should be completed by April," says Bingham. "And that the DNA testing is scheduled to be completed by the end of July."

The motion for continuance was unopposed by prosecutors.

Bingham added that he thinks DNA will be a crucial aspect of this case.

Both prosecutors and the defense team agreed that February 2019 would be an ideal time for the start of the trial, giving them enough time to review the forensic testing once completed and allowing ample time between another capital murder trial scheduled for October 2019.

Zavala Garcia has been in the Smith County Jail awaiting trial for almost a year and a half. Some of that time was spent in solitary after he climbed onto a basketball goal and refused to come down.

This morning, Judge Jack Skeen said both the prosecutors and the defense attorney's needed to make every effort to be ready for trial by February.

"I'm not going to get into a situation where the case needs to be pushed back and has to be moved," says Skeen.

Skeen is currently working on amending the trial schedule and setting a new start date.

There is no timeline for bringing a capital murder case to trial.

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