Thursday, July 07, 2011

Albert Gaxiola, the person, not the convicted killer

The Pima County Superior Court jury that will decide whether former Arivaca resident Albert Robert Gaxiola spends the rest of his life in prison or is executed by lethal injection was provided a snapshot, Thursday, of the person.
Albert Gaxiola
(pool photo by Jill
Daily Star)

Last Friday, Gaxiola, 44, was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his daughter Brisenia, as well as six other charges. Earlier this year, Jason Eugene Bush and Shawna Forde were found guilty on the same charges in separate trials. They both ended up with death sentences imposed by the juries hearing the evidence of their crimes.

Forensic psychologist

Dr. Gary Perrin, a forensic psychologist hired by the defense to evaluate the defendant reviewed a number of reports and conducted tests, as well as a clinical interview with Gaxiola.

Perrin was asked about his clinical interview with Gaxiola. “He stated that he enjoys life, is not angry, avoids situations where other people are angry,” he testified. “He acknowledged being ‘a little anxious’ after he was first arrested in this present case, but he said he became less anxious after learning more about his own case and developed a routine being in the jail.”

Gaxiola told Perrin that he had used alcohol in high school and all types of drugs over the years. “He stated that marijuana was his drug of choice, that he liked using it and that he was using marijuana daily at the time of his arrest,” he testified. “He said marijuana ‘gave me energy’ and a ‘bigger smile.’”

Perrin said Gaxiola told him he had periodically used methamphetamine and cocaine, but did not like crack cocaine. Gaxiola also told Perrin that had used LSD four or five times and he also had used hallucinogenic mushrooms. “He said that his use of cocaine ‘got out of hand’ in that he was using it daily for a period of time,” he testified.

Early abuse

Gaxiola told Perrin that he had only one contact during his life with his biological father. “He described that his mother had boyfriends who were very abusive of her physically and that was distressing,” he testified. “He described that one of her boyfriends, when Mr. Gaxiola was about four, had him stand on the bed, punched him in the abdomen and made him eat chili peppers. Mr. Gaxiola said he didn’t know why he made him do those things.”

After that, Gaxiola went to live with his aunt and uncle in California, which he described to Perrin as a “Beaver Clever” lifestyle. Eventually, Gaxiola moved to southern Arizona to be near his mother and grandparents. “He said he lived with his grandfather for about six months then he obtained his own residence,” Perrin testified.

Family business

Gaxiola told Perrin that drug trafficking was a family business. “He said his grandfather and his mother brought him into the drug sales business,” he testified. “He said his mother was ‘like a boss’ and ‘guided me’ in the drug business. He described his grandmother as ‘God-fearing’ and that she was not part of the drug business.”

On cross-examination, Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay asked Perrin to confirm that Gaxiola’s intelligence quotient (IQ) had been measured as 112, which places him in the high average range with no intellectual functioning impairment. Unklesbay asked is Gaxiola was capable of holding a job. “Dependent upon the type of job, generally he has the abilities to hold down a job if he is not using drugs or involved in some type of illegal activity related to drugs that would cause him to be arrested,” Perrin testified.