BROWNSVILLE, Texas - It was a long day in court, as the defense fought to have the statements by Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval, one of the suspects accused of killing off-duty border patrol agent Javier Vega Jr., suppressed.
The judge denied that motion and the video was presented to the jury.
In the interview with Texas Ranger Donato Vela, Tijerina starts off saying he and other suspect, Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo, were going fishing, and then were shot at.
He then said he might have been drugged and did not remember what happened.
In a second video, Tijerina says he is guilty, that he fired, and “they” threatened him. He owed money to someone, and that someone wanted to kill his family in Mexico.
“Well if they are going to kill me let it be fast so that I don’t have to suffer anymore,” Tijerina said in the video interview, while sobbing. “It was a mistake I have to pay the price.”
During an evidentiary hearing before the videos were presented, the defense objected to publishing the statement because Tijerina was arrested at 4 AM and was interviewed at 6 AM.
He repeatedly said he wanted to sleep during the interview, and the defense said Rangers should have stopped the interview but didn’t.
Tijerina was also not given a chance to call his family, after being told yes.
It was revealed that Tijerina was struck by officers when arrested, but Rangers didn’t investigate, and that a Willacy County public defender who offers legal advice was ordered not to talk to Tijerina, an order the defender was never asked before.
The defense also argued that Vela lied to and confused Tijerina by saying the interview may not affect him in court.