Hung jury triggers mistrial in attempted murder case
After about four days of testimony and six hours of deliberation, a jury couldn't decide Friday whether a San Antonio man, a reputed gang member, was guilty of attempted murder.
Because the jury was deadlocked, Judge Kemper Stephen Williams was forced to declare a mistrial after one of the 12 jurors was not convinced of the prosecution's case.
"We had a strong case, and it's only going to get stronger," Victoria District Attorney Stephen Tyler said afterward, noting he intends to go to a grand jury again in two weeks. "Heck, this was a practice run ... We're going to fight this case and eventually we'll win."
Tyler wouldn't elaborate about how the one juror disagreed with his case. He appreciated how that juror was unwavered.
Hilario Figirova Jr., 29, was on trial this week charged with engaging in organized criminal activity after police and witnesses say he gunned down Eric Cavazos the night of Sept. 7, 2008.
Defense Attorney Richard W. Rogers III also said he was not involved and will defend his client again.
"It's better than a guilty verdict," he said, suspecting a juror may have been swayed by one thing in particular.
"The state's case was primarily based on people that were testifying in the hopes of leniency (for other crimes)," he said.
One such person was Mario Conchola, a former high-ranking HPL gang member, who told jurors Wednesday that Figirova and Cavazos started arguing about a girl while partying at "Shooters," a club at 4102 N. Navarro St.
And, when Figirova didn't respond to Cavazos' challenge to meet him for a fight outside, the two left angry.
Conchola is Cavazos' cousin.
Conchola faces murder charges for an unrelated shooting and testified in the hopes of getting a sentence of no more than 30 years.
Cavazos also testified that day and told jurors Figirova shot him. He's blind after being shot twice - once in the arm and once in the head, Tyler said.
"The one through the arm was about the size of a coke can, and they had to reconstruct it," he said. "They blew off his jaw ... He has suffered a great deal."
Others listed on the indictment include Marcus Perez, also known as "Marque," 33, of Victoria, Christopher Allen Riveria, nicknamed, "Li'l Chris," no age available, and Angel Lozano, 23, of Victoria.
Engaging in organized criminal activity is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison, and a fine of no more than $10,000 can also be levied.
Figirova was arrested by Department of Public Safety troopers at his San Antonio home in February after he made Texas' most wanted fugitives list, according to earlier reports.