Jury selection is set to start Monday in Waco’s 19th State District Court in the capital murder trial of Todric Deon McDonald.
McDonald, 32, is charged in the May 2014 shooting deaths of cousins Justin Javier Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez at the Pecan Tree Apartments, 2600 Grimm Ave. Testimony is set to start Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors Hilary LaBorde, Robert Moody and Evan O’Donnell are not seeking the death penalty in the case. If McDonald is convicted of capital murder, he faces an automatic life sentence with no parole.
State prosecutors initially announced they would seek the death penalty against McDonald. However, in August, they told Judge Ralph Strother they changed their minds, which will shorten the length and expense of McDonald’s trial significantly. McDonald is represented by John Donahue and Jon Evans.
McDonald’s co-defendant, Tony Olivarez, 34, is charged with capital murder in Waco’s 54th State District Court. He has a status conference set for Feb. 22. No trial date has been set.
At a hearing last month in McDonald’s case, prosecutors and defense attorneys discussed recorded jail phone conversations the state intends to use in evidence against McDonald, who has been in the McLennan County Jail more than four years awaiting trial.
Strother has placed the attorneys under a gag order, precluding them from discussing the case with the media.
McDonald also has a number of other felony and misdemeanor cases pending against him, including some he has picked up since he was jailed. They include two counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, endangering a child, assault-family violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, indecent exposure, assault on a public servant, retaliation and evading arrest or detention.
Court officials expect the trial to last about five days.