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Family, friends remember homicide victim

Aug. 2, 2014 at 5:45 p.m.


GOLIAD - When Eva Guerra approached a still-growing crowd Saturday afternoon, eyes across the Goliad County Fairgrounds began to well up.

The Victoria woman joined more than 70 people gathered at the Goliad County Fairgrounds to honor her son, Christoval Lee Garza, who was killed July 4. He was 38.

Friends, family and acquaintances released balloons adorned with farewell messages.

"I know that it hurts terribly to watch him go, and this way," she told the crowd, "he didn't have a right to go this way."

Garza, whose loved ones just called Chris, suffered blunt force trauma to the abdomen and back, which fractured his ribs, punctured his left lung and lacerated his spleen. Three men are accused of beating and ultimately killing Garza. They were arrested by Goliad deputies two weeks after Garza died.

Attendees and participants did not dwell on Garza's death the entire time. There was laughter, reminiscing, and children running in the fields, demonstrating that although the reason for the occasion was dark, the event itself had uplifting points, such as recorded and live music offering well wishes for a departed loved one.

Joseph Segura, an organizer of the balloon release, was close enough to Garza that he considered him an uncle, who loved to help others and be in good company at social gatherings.

"Very friendly, happy-go-lucky - always brightening up somebody's day, even if his wasn't going so good," he said about Garza.

He wasn't able to attend the funeral, so he opted to use another way to find closure and offer a "last 'we love you.'"

Garza's aunt, Irma Leal, of Angleton, said her nephew was loving and didn't know a stranger.

It's time to let go and for justice to be done, she said.

"I'm glad we're going to have peace for everyone," Leal said. "Let the court take over. Let them do their job."

"Ready?" organizer Mary Jane Segura said to attendees. "On the count of three. One. Two. Three.

"Love you."

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