Archive for Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Murder trial provides more testimony

November 1, 2006

By Ron Knox, Eric Weslander

Moments after shooting a member of his extended family through the head, Hinndley Espinales rested on his pickup truck and asked his father for help, according to testimony Tuesday in District Court.

The only way he could help him, Rufino Espinales recalled telling his son, was to call the police.

His testimony came on the second day of trial for Hinndley Espinales, 25, Gardner. He is charged with premeditated first-degree murder for the March 4 shooting of Alvin Sanchez at 109 Hillside Drive in Baldwin.

Hinndley Espinales is the stepbrother of Sanchez's wife, Jamelia. Prosecutors say he shot Alvin Sanchez after their tempers flared at a 50th birthday party for Rufino Espinales.

Defense attorneys don't dispute that the shooting happened. It's a question of whether the state can prove it was premeditated.

Both men had been drinking alcohol that evening, according to testimony, and coroner Erik Mitchell said toxicology tests showed Sanchez was under the influence of cocaine at the time of his death.

Dist. Atty. Charles Branson has suggested that Sanchez was upset with Hinndley Espinales because he didn't like the way he had been dancing with his wife a week earlier. Also, Branson said Espinales thought Sanchez had snubbed him the night of the party.

Rufino Espinales said he didn't know why the shooting happened. But he testified that the physical violence began shortly after Hinndley Espinales and Jamelia Sanchez argued over why Hinndley used a restroom in the home near where Sanchez's children were sleeping.

Rufino Espinales said he heard his son's reply: There was no toilet paper in the other restroom.

But the argument grew heated when Alvin Sanchez became involved, Rufino Espinales said. The two men exchanged verbal and physical blows and moments later, Hinndley Espinales ran to his truck and grabbed a semi-automatic handgun.

Rufino Espinales said he was near the front door of the home when his son brushed past him on his way back inside. He said he then heard two shots ring out.

After helping to subdue his son, he said Hinndley Espinales then walked outside, sat on the back of his truck and asked his father for help. He later drove off and was arrested by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Sanchez was shot twice, coroner Erik Mitchell said: one bullet went into his shoulder and out his back. The other went through the top of his head and exited through the back of his neck.

"This wound killed Mr. Sanchez," Mitchell said of the gunshot to the head. "It is the type of wound where you do not expect survival."

The trial resumed Wednesday. Updates on the trial will be available on the Signal's Web site,

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