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Gang trial rescheduled; attorneys unable to find unbiased jurors

By Gheni_Platenburg
Oct. 17, 2011 at 5:17 a.m.
Updated Oct. 18, 2011 at 5:18 a.m.

A failure to find jurors without a bias toward gang members prompted a gang-related trial to be rescheduled, instead of its Tuesday date.

Robert Lindstrom, aka "Stutter"; Jeffrey Soto, aka "Jeff"; and Robert Saldana, aka "Wedo," all of Victoria, were scheduled to be tried for the 2006 attempted murder of Paul Benavides.

All three defendants faced a charge of first-degree engagement in organized criminal activity.

Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler said the attorneys "ran out of jurors" during the jury selection process on Monday.

"The court and the attorneys want to make sure jurors are fair and impartial," Tyler said.

As members of the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos street gang, Lindstrom, 24; Soto, 25; and Saldana, 26; are accused of conspiring to cause serious bodily harm to Paul Benavides, aka "Pow Wow," by shooting him, according to the defendants' October 2010 indictments.

Their indictments contend that in September 2006, the defendants requested authority to proceed with the murder of Paul Benavides from the ruling "Mesa" of the HPL; relayed communication of the ruling Mesa authorizing Benavides' murder; coordinated a meeting of HPL members to plan Benavides' murder; approved the murder; and coordinated the cover-up and destruction of evidence.

A new trial date has not yet been set.


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