The second of two men charged in the May 2014 drug-related shooting deaths of two cousins at a North Waco apartment complex is set to stand trial on Monday.
Jury selection in the capital murder trial of Tony Olivarez, 34, is set to begin Monday in Waco’s 54th State District Court.
Olivarez, who is represented by Russ Hunt and Russ Hunt Jr., is charged in the shooting deaths of Justin Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez at the Pecan Tree Apartments, 2600 Grim Ave.
Olivarez’s co-defendant, Todric Deon McDonald, was convicted of capital murder in February and sentenced to life in prison with no hope for parole. If Olivarez is convicted of capital murder, his sentence will be the same. In capital murder cases in which the state waives the death penalty, defendants face an automatic life without parole.
“We are looking forward to trying the case and representing our client,” the elder Hunt said.
Jury selection is set for Monday, while prosecutors Robert Moody, Nelson Barnes and Evan O’Donnell are expected to call the state’s first witnesses Tuesday.
Two eyewitnesses, who said they were using drugs with the cousins at the apartment when they were shot, testified at McDonald’s trial that McDonald and another man killed the men. Also, two prisoners housed near McDonald and another man who befriended him in Waco testified that McDonald admitted to them his role in the double slaying.
Testimony showed that McDonald carjacked a Waco man outside a North Waco convenience store to get the blue GMC Yukon he was driving on the night of the murders and that he tried to rob a man of a firearm and exchanged gunfire with him on Morrow Avenue four hours before the Gonzalez cousins were killed.
Days later, McDonald led local and federal authorities on a high-speed chase down Bosque Boulevard with a woman and a 3-year-old child in his car before his car was incapacitated and he was arrested.
Trial testimony showed Justin Gonzalez was dealing methamphetamine out of the Grim Avenue apartment and owed McDonald money for drugs.
One woman who was there when McDonald and the other man came in said she jumped from a two-story balcony to escape after the gunmen returned to the apartment in what prosecutors said was an attempt to eliminate the two women who witnessed the killings.
The other woman said she hid beneath a futon on the balcony until she heard police outside her window. She said McDonald and the other man tried to kick open the door and then shot it several times in an attempt to get back in the apartment. Their efforts failed, and they fled the area.
The trial is expected to last at least five days, court officials said.