EL PASO, Texas - On Wednesday four witnesses took the stand in the capital murder case of Juan "Johnny" Gonzalez.
The alleged confrontation between three teens and an off-duty, out of uniform officer took place in central El Paso on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 around 4:45 p.m. Gonzalez is accused of beating Officer Jonathan Molina so badly, that he died days later from his injuries in the hospital.
A witness and friend of the defendant, Alan Medrano, said the three were all walking home on Trowbridge near Gateway after school when one of the boys, Tony Gomez, picked up a metal-like object and began scratching a car. It was then 29-year-old Molina came outside of a home and shouted at the boys to stop, but none of them did. Molina then followed the boys in his car, before getting out and confronting Gomez, and telling them that he was a police officer.
Gonzalez then intervened by punching Molina twice, according to Medrano. Before Molina could recovered, Medrano said Gonzalez grabbed him from behind his knees, and knocked him off his feet onto the ground before continuing to punch him.
Three passersby testified that they witnessed the altercation while driving by on Trowbridge. All turned around to inspect and call for help.
One named Erin Lyle described how Molina looked after the alleged attack. "He (Molina) had knots on his forehead and he was bleeding. When he turned over, blood came out of his nose. The sun was shining on his face and I was trying to shield him. He was trying to move, trying to stand up, but couldn't," Lyle said. She added that once Molina turned over, she noticed the gun tucked into his pants behind his back.
Three separate Facebook messages sent from the defendant to Medrano were presented to the jury, which prosecutors said were sent the night of the alleged crime or following morning. Johnny, who's Facebook name was "Johnnii Boii" said, "I hope u (Medrano) didn't get caught I killed the guy, he went into compulsions and died. Haha JK Weii I seen that shit on the news. Dude turn on the news dude there's all this crap going on."
Medrano was declared a hostile witness by 346th District Court Judge Angie Barill during the testimony. The trial broke just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, and is expected to resume Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
ABC-7 spoke to the defendant's father outside of the courtroom off camera. He said sitting through the trial has been difficult, but not as difficult as living without his only child for nearly the last two years.