Teenage girls give testimony during second day of murder trial

Freedom New Mexico

Two teenage girls gave testimony for the prosecution Tuesday morning that placed three brothers and two other men at the apartment complex where 10-year-old Carlos Perez was shot and killed more than two years ago.

Melissa Sanchez was the first witness in Day 2 of the first-degree murder trial of Edward Salas, 23, of Clovis, who is accused with four others of killing Perez.

She told a Curry County jury that on the night of the shooting she pointed out the apartment where Ruben Perez — the older brother of Carlos Perez and the intended target according to police — lived. Orlando Salas — Edward’s younger brother, who has already been convicted in the case — and Sanchez were dropped off at a residence by Demetrio Salas and David Griego, who have also been convicted in the case.

Demetrio Salas and Griego returned a few minutes later looking “like they were all hyped up,” she said.

Demetrio Salas had a gun, a “duce duce” or 22 caliber revolver and said “We just blasted up that sewer rat’s house,” she said.

Sanchez cried when she recalled how they heard ambulance crews on a police scanner talking about a 10-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the temple.

“I didn’t want no part of it, I wanted to go home,” she said, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

Ashley Garcia, 19, testified she and the girlfriend of Noe Torres — another charged in the case — drove Torres and Edward Salas to the apartment complex where the Perez family lived that night.

Torres had asked them to take him to run an errand and had promised the girls methamphetamine in return, she said.

Garcia said she saw Torres and Edward Salas meet with others near the Perez’ apartment building and shake hands before they disappeared.

While waiting in a nearby park, she heard a series of gunshots and Torres and Edward Salas returning to the vehicle.

When they got in the car, “I got all hysterical and was crying and (Noe) got mad at me and told me to shut up and turned the music up,” she said.

Defense attorney Stephen McIlwain attacked the girls’ credibility, pressing Sanchez on details of a plea agreement she made with prosecutors and Garcia for her admitted drug and alcohol use the night of the shooting.

Jurors broke for lunch around noon. A full afternoon of testimony is expected.

Edward Salas could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted in the Sept. 15, 2005, shooting.