Friday, June 17, 2011

Gaxiola’s girlfriend testifies about the night of the murders

Gina Moraga asked about
text message by prosecutor
Kellie Johnson (pool photo
 by Mamta Popat/Arizona
Daily Star) 

The Pima County Superior Court jury hearing testimony in the double-murder trial for Albert Robert Gaxiola heard, Friday, from Gaxiola’s girlfriend, Georgina “Gina” Moraga.

Gaxiola, 43, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009, deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, 9. Additional charges include: the attempted first-degree murder of Gina Marie Gonzalez; one count of burglary in the first-degree; one count of aggravated assault, serious physical injury; one count of aggravated assault, deadly weapon/dangerous instrument; one count of armed robbery; and one count of aggravated armed robbery.

Both Forde and co-defendant Jason Eugene Bush have been tried and convicted on the same charges. Forde received two death sentences plus 65 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections and Bush received two death sentences and 78 years in prison.

Moraga is currently serving a three-year sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections for a variety of drug and fraud-related charges. She testified that she first met Gaxiola in May 2009. “Our relationship was sexual,” she admitted.

When they were dating, Moraga referred to Gaxiola as Bobby, a reference to his middle name of Robert and she had use of his Hyundai Tiburon, stick shift.

On May 29, Moraga testified that she had experienced difficulty starting the Tiburon and had resulted to using jumper cables, which she put in the trunk after getting the vehicle started. She then picked up Gaxiola at his residence near Pima and Craycroft in Tucson and they drove to Arivaca.

Moraga testified that she had been to Arivaca previously as Gaxiola’s guest. “I’m not positive, maybe three times, four times. We stayed there on weekends,” she said.

Moraga testified that on a previous visit to Arivaca she had seen the orange Honda Element belonging to Forde at Gaxiola’s residence but not on May 29.

On cross-examination Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson asked Moraga about the time she had told detectives that she observed a female at Gaxiola’s Arivaca residence who she later came to know as Shawna Forde. Friday, Moraga denied Forde was at Gaxiola’s the night of May29-30. Then she admitted that she looses track of time. “This was not an important day for me,” she said. “I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t because I didn’t know what was going on.”

After arriving in Arivaca, Moraga testified that she and Gaxiola first stopped at the residence where Oin Oakstar was staying in Arivaca. “We went to his friends house. His name is Oin,” she said.

Moraga remained in the vehicle while Gaxiola had a conversation with Oakstar. Moraga had forgotten to tell Gaxiola about her earlier car trouble. “I spaced it,” she admitted.

Moraga killed time while Gaxiola was speaking to Oakstar by doing her makeup in the rearview mirror. When he returned the car would not start and she admitted that she had forgotten to mention the car problems from earlier in the day.

After using the jumper cables to start the car, Gaxiola and Moraga went to Gaxiola’s residence. “I went unto the bedroom and he stayed in the living room. I put my headphones on and started polishing my rings,” she testified.

Moraga testified that they were at Gaxiola’s residence for 15-20 minutes. “He came back in and said it’s time to go,” she recalled.

The car would not start again so they attempted to jumpstart it using one of his other vehicles. “He couldn’t get the hood open so I was trying to help him get the hood open,” she said.

During all of the banging trying to get the hood open on the Blazer, Gaxiola’s neighbor Inga Hartman came out to investigate. “A lady with a flashlight asked what was going on,” Moraga said.

Gaxiola told Moraga to tell Hartman what they were doing. “I said we were just trying to jumpstart the car because it won’t start,” she testified.

Moraga estimated that it took 10-15 minutes to get the Tiburon started.

Last week, Hartman testified that on the evening of May 29, 2009, she had retired to bed at 8 p.m. but awoke around 10 p.m. “I had a restless night. I slept on and off,” she recalled. “At 1:15, I woke up because somebody had been slamming a car lid in Albert’s yard. “I looked at the clock.”

Hartman testified last week that she went outside to investigate the source of the noise. “They tried to start the car and it flooded out and they slammed the lid. That was going on about six times,” she said. “I went out and looked over my back fence and I could see over there. There was a car and a lady in there with blond hair. I got a whiff of the exhaust and couldn’t breathe so I went back into the house.”

While Hartman was unable to see Gaxiola working on the stalled vehicle she testified that she assumed that it was Gaxiola. “My dogs didn’t bark because they knew Albert,” she said. “I heard Albert’s voice.”

Hartman testified that after she went into her house she heard the slamming of the hood another two times. She admitted she did not hear the car start and she did not hear it drive away.

She said the noise ceased about 10 minutes after she had awakened at 1:15 a.m. “It was about 15-20 minutes total,” Hartman clarified.

When they arrived back in Tucson, Moraga testified that called her mother at 2:31 a.m. from a Circle K near Golf Links and Craycroft asking for help with their vehicle.

Johnson also asked Moraga about a text message sent from her cellphone on May 30 at 1902 hours, which read: “How are you all hanging? Get your rest and gather strength. Red on med leave. Next target intel will need a 4 man team. Details when we meet. Gina.”

Moraga denied any knowledge of that text message.

Testimony in the trial resumes Tuesday at 10:15 a.m.