Monday, August 06, 2012
justice for Alex Morales
The arrests in 2009 of Lopez, 53, and Rodriguez, 57, provided heartbreaking answers to a long-standing mystery of why Truax, 29, and Morales, 42, disappeared April 24, 1994.
“We appreciate the extraordinary effort the state went through” to solve the long-idle missing persons' case, said Melanie French, one of Morales' children.
Evidence showed the pair were slain over Morales' unpaid drug debts to Lopez and Rodriguez, who also were concerned Morales would snitch on them.
The accusations were especially painful because Lopez is a cousin of Morales.
“It's not easy to hear any of it,” said French, 40, of New Braunfels. “It's especially challenging because I grew up with Greg and his children.”
Rodriguez, who testified against Lopez in exchange for a 20-year sentence, said they buried the bodies at his ranch near Lytle, the murder site, and later dug them up and burned them.
The ranch off FM 463 was searched because of a prison informant's 2008 tip, but no human remains were found.
The state's case at the two-week trial relied heavily on circumstantial evidence and accounts of witnesses involved with Morales and the suspects in selling large quantities of marijuana and methamphetamine, or other crimes.
Defense counsel Martin Underwood called no witnesses.
In closing arguments Tuesday, he decried the state's reliance on “an incredible collection of bank-robbers, thieves, meth-heads and insurance scammers.”
Kindred told jurors it was necessary to strike deals with Rodriguez and two other suspects to get at the truth.
“The people involved have all taken responsibility, except one,” he said, alluding to Lopez, who was taken into custody after the verdict.