Husband of targeted woman testifies in trial

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Nov. 21, 2013 at 5:21 a.m.
Updated Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:22 a.m.

The husband of an alleged target for a murder-for-hire plot told jurors Thursday he was solicited for the job, too.

Chris Garcia also said his wife, who he is separated from, is often not truthful and can be violent.

Garcia testified in the trial of Kerstin Preis Jones, who is charged with criminal solicitation of capital murder and manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance between 200 and 400 grams.

Yvette Garcia, a nurse, is in a relationship with Jones' husband, Roderick Jones, a disabled veteran.

"She (Kerstin Jones) said she had a bullet for them," Chris Garcia said. "I told her that they weren't worth my freedom."

A video also showed Jones giving undercover Department of Public Safety agent Christian Fogle the title for her truck as a hit man's finders fee.

DPS Agent Shawn Hallett, who oversaw the investigation, then testified that after Jones' May 2, 2012, arrest, several guns were recovered - some from her house, some she gave to a neighbor and reported stolen and some that did not have a serial number.

Jones could face federal charges because her citizenship status prohibits her from selling guns, he said.

Jones is from Germany.

Jones' defense has been that she hired a hit man because she felt intimidated and indebted to a criminal informant, who she met selling a tractor previously.

The informant had sex with her on occasion.

DPS agents maintained, however, to make the situation believable, they had to give Jones a high price for the hit and could not tell the informant to act differently around her because doing so would rouse suspicion.

Jones was eager, yet cautious when shopping for a hit man and changed meeting locations when she thought she'd be caught on camera, Hallett said.

"If you were scared you almost got caught committing a first-degree felony and could go away for life, would you count your lucky stars and walk away or would you try again?" District Attorney Stephen Tyler asked.

Jones' attorney, John Urquhart, of Houston, questioned why DPS did not involve law enforcement in Calhoun County, where the murder was supposed to take place.

When Hallett looked into whether Jones' report that Garcia tried to run her over was true, he did not speak with the Port Lavaca police officer who investigated.

"There's two sides to every story. Ours is just harder to tell," Urquhart said.

Judge Skipper Koetter will read the charge, and attorneys will make closing arguments beginning at 9 a.m. Friday.



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