Steve Balash, attorney for accused murderer Robert Ibarra, spent Thursday questioning witness Robert Galindo’s memory and finding inconsistencies with his recent testimony compared to his grand jury testimony in March 2005.
Ibarra is on trial for murder with special circumstances including lying in wait, personally using a knife and committing the crime for the benefit, at the direction of, or in association with the Eastside street gang. If found guilty, Ibarra faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Galindo, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for his involvement in the murder of Elias Silva in October 2004, admitted that at the time he “used a lot of drugs” and that his drug of choice, crystal meth, keeps you awake for extended periods of time. He admitted he had gaps in his memory about specific details.
The timeline of Galindo’s meeting Joshua Miracle, currently on death row for the murder, and the night of the murder itself was clarified. Balash repeatedly had Galindo diagram his movements that night, including when he rushed out of his apartment as the murder took place as well as where he, Miracle, and defendant Robert Ibarra were standing when the victim, Silva, entered the apartment.
Galindo continued to testify that he ran out of the apartment before seeing anyone stab Silva and that, to his knowledge, only Miracle had knives on him as he fled. Balash also questioned Galindo’s memory of when he signed his plea agreement in March 2005. When Galindo admitted he did not recall the specifics, Balash questioned how he could not remember the details of the plea, but could remember specifics about the night of October 2 and morning of October 3.
Balash continued on to question if Galindo felt he had received a good deal, potentially serving 11 years in prison as opposed to life, and if he felt he had to please the district attorney because he has yet to be sentenced. Galindo admitted he feared for his life if sent to prison.
Balash also questioned Galindo’s testimony from Wednesday that he had only used meth with Silva, Ibarra, and a woman on the night September 29, 2004. But his grand jury testimony revealed he previously said he had also used during the day, when alone with Ibarra.
During his direct examination by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Smith, Galindo stated that he had wanted to close his window just prior to Silva’s arrival to the apartment. Following Balash’s questioning, Galindo admitted he knew there would be a fight of some sort and wanted to close the window so the apartment manager would not hear. He said he was also scared to call 911.
Further questioning revealed that Galindo had meth on him at the time, which he had received from Silva earlier that Saturday. Phone records revealed that Silva had called Ibarra’s phone at 1:41 a.m., consistent with Galindo’s testimony that Silva called as he walked towards the apartment door.