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Goliad man says he witnessed attack on Garza
by Coy Slavik, Advance-Guard Editor
Jul 25, 2014 | 5156 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A mourner holds a candle during Saturday night's candlelight vigil at the Goliad County Courthouse lawn.
A mourner holds a candle during Saturday night's candlelight vigil at the Goliad County Courthouse lawn.
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GOLIAD – A Goliad man has described his account of the hours leading up to the death of Chris Garza to Goliad County Sheriff's Office investigators and claims he witnessed an attack on the 38-year-old man.

According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by the Advance-Guard from the office of Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Susan Moore, Alex Guerra told GCSO investigators July 4 that suspects Torivio "Toby" Gutierrez Jr., Endalesio "Andy" Pompa IV and Louis Michael Flores repeatedly beat and kicked Garza. Guerra said the altercation stemmed from a comment made by Garza a few months earlier about Gutierrez's wife. According to Guerra, Garza made a remark about the woman being "hot."

Guerra said he heard Gutierrez say, "I'll get his --- later on, one day."

Guerra told investigators that he, Gutierrez and Pompa were at River Bottom Tavern in Goliad when they encountered Garza. Flores was working at the bar as a bouncer. Guerra said the men drank at the bar until midnight without incident.

All five men left the bar to continue drinking at Gutierrez’s home at 1265 Warrick Rd. According to Guerra, Gutierrez soon confronted Garza, telling him, "You're the one talking ---- about my old lady,” Guerra said. Gutierrez then punched Garza.

Guerra said Pompa and Flores joined in beating Garza.

"They were going at him," Guerra told investigators.

Guerra insisted he wasn't part of the assault.

"I don't want no part of this ----," Guerra told investigators.

Guerra said Garza fell to the ground and tried to deflect the punches and kicks by "covering up." Guerra said the three men continued to assault Garza. Guerra estimated the attack to last five minutes.

Guerra said Garza was allowed to get to his feet. Guerra said he last saw Garza staggering down the driveway that runs in front of Guerra's RV located at the residence.

Garza's body was found by GCSO deputies at approximately 5 a.m. on July 4.

According to the affidavit, Gutierrez told deputies that he was awakened by Guerra at approximately 4:30 a.m., telling him there was a man lying on the property. The report says Gutierrez told deputies he knew the man but did not know why Garza was on the property.

According to the affidavit, Gutierrez claimed Guerra "took off in a panicked state" after it was determined Garza was deceased. The affidavit states Guerra originally said he had no idea of Garza's death and said he was at a friend's house most of the night. Guerra adamantly denied Gutierrez's story.

Investigators later interviewed Flores on July 4. According to the report, Flores confirmed Guerra's statement about the five men being at River Bottom Tavern and all the men going to Gutierrez's residence.

According to Flores, Garza struck Gutierrez first, and Gutierrez retaliated by slapping Garza in the face. Flores said he tried to break up the altercation and soon left.

Flores denied involvement in the beating. According to the affidavit, Flores became visibly emotional when informed of Garza's death.

Later on July 4, Pompa voluntarily came to the GCSO stating he "heard you wanted to talk to me about what happened to Chris." Pompa claimed not to know anything about the altercation and did not provide much useful information, according to the affidavit.

An autopsy performed by Central Texas Autopsy in Lockhart revealed the probable cause of death to Garza was "complications from blunt force injury." The manner of death was listed as a homicide.

The autopsy revealed Garza sustained blunt force trauma to his left back, rib fractures, a punctured left lung and lacerated spleen. There were also "scattered areas of blunt force injury to his head, but there was no injury to the brain or skull."

Flores, 49, and Gutierrez, 40, were arrested and charged with first-degree murder on July 15. Pompa, 29, of Goliad was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on July 16.

All three suspects are being held without bond.

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