Garland Convenience Store Shooting Trial Day 2: Interview with father of suspected shooter played in court
DALLAS - Testimony continued Wednesday in the capital murder trial of Richard Acosta, the father of a teenager accused of shooting and killing 3 other teens at a Garland convenience store.
During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors said Acosta drove his then 14-year-old son, Abel Acosta, to commit the murders on Dec. 26, 2021, and they allege that he knew it was going to happen.
READ MORE: Garland convenience store shooting trial begins, father of accused shooter faces capital murder charge
The defense argued that Richard had no idea what would happen on the night of the shooting.
They claimed Richard wanted to go back home to watch the Cowboys game and that he thought he was dropping Abel off to talk to one of the boys about a necklace.
The bulk of Wednesday's testimony centered around forensic evidence, including fingerprints and bullet casings found at the crime scene.
Family members of two of the victims said it’s tough listening to all of the testimony, but they plan to be in court every day until this capital murder trial is over.
14-year-old Xavier Gonzalez, 17-year-old Rafael Garcia and 16-year-old Ivan Noyala were killed in the shooting.
Body camera video played in court Wednesday showed Richard sitting in the lobby of the Garland Police Department the day after the deadly shooting.
In the video, Richard told detectives he turned himself in after friends told him his picture was on the news and he was wanted in connection to the triple homicide at the Garland Texaco.
At the time, Garland police did not know his identity. He told detectives his girlfriend dropped him off because he was unsure how long he was needed at the department.
Richard was captured on store surveillance video leaving the scene in a white pickup truck.
The gunman, later identified as his 14-year-old son, Abel, was seen jumping into the back seat right after the shooting before the truck drove off.
Richard was taken into custody.
He told investigators his white Dodge Ram pick-up truck was in the parking lot of a Walmart.
"Went to the scene and located that pickup truck, and it was seized as evidence at that time," Garland PD Det. Jason Lambert said.
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The pick-up truck was processed. A gun was found inside, but testing later revealed it was not the gun used to kill the three teens.
A former detective testified the pick-up truck had been altered after it left the crime scene in an attempt to remove an identifiable black marking on the side of the truck.
"The identifiable black marking on the side had been attempted to be removed. That was one of the first things I noticed when I saw the vehicle," Robert Duncan said.
A lead forensic investigator testified she lifted Abel’s fingerprints from the inside of his dad's pick-up truck and from the door of the convenience store.
"Identified to left ring finger of Abel Acosta," said Ara Huggins, lead forensic investigator for Garland PD.
Much of Wednesday afternoon’s testimony focused on cell phone data and devices belonging Richard at the murder scene.
"Yeah that is a Google location data for Richard Acosta Jr.‘s device," an investigator testified.
Data later showing Richard’s device traveling across DFW throughout the night and the next day.
Richard and his son have family members who live throughout North Texas, and investigators believe family members helped the teen hide from authorities.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that Richard knew his son intended to shoot Garcia and Noyola that night because of a previous encounter with the duo, and that he helped his son commit the capital murder and later escape.
"He's responsible," Ivan's Noyola's father, Mario, said.
Mario said he blames Richard because he drove Abel to the gas station that night. He wants justice.
So does Gonzalez’s family.
Investigators said the 14-year-old was an innocent bystander, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Right now, we are his voice and we're here to get him justice," Gonzalez’s aunt, Brenda Salinas, said. "He’s the parent. Parents, you know, teach their kids what to do, basically."
The jury heard testimony from the medical examiners who performed the autopsies on the teens.
They also saw photos of all bodies.
Abel is still on the run.
The prosecution believes Richard helped his son escape, possibly to Mexico.
Richard did not show any visible emotion during testimony Wednesday.
According to his attorney, Richard is expected to testify at some point this week.