Robert Ibarra’s trial for the murder of Elias Silva continued into its second day on Wednesday, highlighted by Robert Galindo taking the stand. Galindo pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2005 for his involvement in Silva’s death.
Galindo, now 47, told the jury of the events leading up to Silva’s death, which occurred at his doorstep. At the time he was living with his brother, Rodney, and the prosecution’s first witness, Phillip Alliano, in the apartment on 15 Camino de Vida in Goleta.
Ibarra, who’s facing a murder charge for Silva’s death, and Joshua Miracle, currently on death row after pleading guilty to the 2004 homicide, had taken up residence in the apartment in the week leading up to the killing, said Galindo.
While Galindo said he had known Ibarra for three years prior to the murder, he had only just met Miracle through a mutual friend a week before. The apartment was a common place for the men to get together and use crystal meth. Galindo would receive meth from Silva, who he considered “a good friend.”
Many of Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Smith’s questions were used to clarify the layout of the crime scene itself and included six pictures of the external view and walkway of the complex and up to the front door of the apartment.
While staying in the apartment, Ibarra and Miracle’s relationship began to develop as the two increasingly talked and did meth together in the bathroom. Galindo said he remained unsure of Miracle, who has “ESG,” for Eastside Gangster, tattooed on the back of his head. Galindo said he has never associated with a gang or had any desire to.
Galindo also said that he was not using meth during these days, but only providing it through Silva, because he was enrolled in a drug diversion program at Zona Seca and expected to be tested the following Monday. Galindo added that there was “tension” between Silva and Ibarra because of women they had been involved with in the past.
Days went by, Galindo said, and on Saturday, October 2, he went to Silva’s apartment to speak with him and pick up some more drugs. It was then that he was warned by Silva to distance himself from Miracle and to get himself and Ibarra out of his apartment, as they were “no good.” Galindo testified that Silva said he was trying to protect him.
When he returned to his apartment, Galindo told Miracle and Ibarra to leave because he had plans that night and wanted to lock up his apartment because his brother and Alliano would be gone as well.
The day went on, and Ibarra eventually left to pick up a check and spend time with his daughter. Galindo, who had no telephone at the time, left to use the pay phone at a grocery store down the street. Miracle joined him to get some food and use the phone as well, said Galindo.
The two returned to the apartment and were joined that evening by Ibarra, who had returned with a “large black duffel bag.” Galindo said he never looked inside, but that he noticed a “white plastic bag” sticking out of the top.
Ibarra and Miracle claimed they had plans with some girls and would leave when they called. But, as the night went on, Galindo said, he began to wonder if the two were telling the truth about their plans. They began ordering Galindo to call Silva and have him come to the apartment to drop off drugs.
The situation began to escalate when Galindo returned from a pay phone. Miracle put a butcher’s knife to his back, and both he and Ibarra threatened him and forced him to make Silva come to the apartment.
Struggling to hold back tears as he testified, Galindo explained that he kept calling Silva from Ibarra’s cell phone, asking him, “Why would you do this to me? I thought you were my friend.”
When Silva arrived at the apartment, Galindo said Ibarra grabbed him as he came in the door and Miracle jumped at him with the knife in hand. At that point Galindo rushed out the door to search for Alliano, who was at a friend’s house.
But before he found Alliano, Galindo said he returned to the complex to see a “thick blood trail, like what a snail would leave behind,” going from an empty parking spot, perhaps where Silva had parked his car, to the front door of his house.
Galindo followed the trail to his front door and pushed it open to see a body lying there and ran off again to find Alliano.
Smith then shared additional images from the crime scene, showing a large blood splatter just inside the front door of Galindo’s apartment.
After the jury was released for the day, Judge Brian Hill informed the members of the families of Galindo, Ibarra, and Silva that they were to have no contact between each other.
The trial continued Thursday. Stay tuned for day-to-day coverage.