Justice For Manuel

 A LIFE'S PURSUIT TO JUSTICE

Preface

At around 10 pm on July 21, 2000 Manuel Gallegos, John Jimenez, Ramon Nunez, Jose Nunez, Marco Gallegos and Jose Gallegos were sitting on the tailgate Manuel's'  truck outside John Jimenez's house.   After a while Ramon Nunez and Jose Gallegos decided to leave the Jimenez residence.  John Jimenez stepped into his house and  Manuel then proceeded to the side of the house to use the restroom.  Arguing was heard by Manuel  and on the way back from using the restroom he saw  Jesse Hernandez and Alfredo Lopez.  Jesse Hernandez was arguing  with Jose Nunez a from a short distance away.   Alfredo  was standing approximately 175 ft away from Manuel.  At this point , Manuel  noticed Alfredo  Lopez  with  his hands at his waist ,under his shirt  .  He then yelled at both Alfredo and Jesse to leave.     Manuel  then shot once in the air.   Alfredo started running and stopped again and continued yelling profanities.  Jesse also ran in the direction of where Alfredo was.   Manuel shot a second shot at a 45 degree angle above them not at them. Everyone at the scene saw Alfredo and Jesse run off.  

Eye Witness Accounts

 "Manuel according to Hernandez said " I don't want you I want your friend, Freddy".  Manuel pulled out a gun and shot in the air.  Hernandez ran.  While running, Hernandez heard a second shot but did not know the whereabouts of Lopez. He returned to the area where the shots were fired and saw Lopez Lying on the parkway between the street and sidewalk outside 3350 Bataan.  Lopez had been shot once in the back; the bullet exited his left upper chest area.

Across the street , Albert Ayala was on his porch when he heard a gunshot and saw Hernandez running and then Lopez running.  Ayala spotted Manuel standing between a house and a tree.  About the time Lopez reached a parked van.  Ayala saw Manuel fire a gun.  Ayala saw the flash of the gun and jumped on the ground.  When Ayala looked up, Lopez was on the ground and Manuel  was walking away.  Ayala ran to Lopez, who was still alive but could not speak.  Hernandez then arrived at the scene.  Ayala said he had no doubt that Manuel was the person who shot Lopez.  Ayala said he was beaten up the same night by Manuel's friends for snitching on Manuel".

This is what the state told the jury.  The jury agreed with the state and convicted Manuel to 50 years in prison.

Star Witness and Physical Evidence

A guilty verdict indicated that the murder case of Alfredo Lopez was solved.  

THE TRIAL:

1.  Star Eye witness Testimony:

  • Albert Ayala claimed to be at his home and saw Manuel kill Alfredo.  

2.  Physical Evidence

  • .40 Caliber Smith and Wesson
  • Gun residue hand washing
  • 18 shell casings found in the area and 1 matching Manuel's .40 caliber

Making a Murderer

Star Eyewitness Testimony:

A)  Albert Ayala claimed to be on his front porch and WITNESS the entire murder.

  • Investigator Jay Matthews interviewed Adriana Valdez.  " Valdez was NOT an eyewitness to the shooting.  She arrived at the scene moments after the shooting.  She was in a truck with her husband, Jorge Valdez, and her husbands' cousin Cenovio Valdez, and a friend, ALBERT AYALA.  Upon arriving they saw Jesse Hernandez acting like something was wrong.  Then they noticed Alfredo Lopez laying on the ground.  Adriana Valdez heard ALBERT AYALA tell the police he was a witness to the shooting.  Valdez told the investigator that this was NOT TRUE because ALBERT was in the truck with her when the shooting occurred.  Valdez said she told ALBERT he was not a witness and should NOT get involved.  She claimed she told one of the detectives that ALBERT was in the truck and DID NOT WITNESS what occurred.  Valdez told the investigator Jay Matthews that she would also NOT get involved in the case or sign a affidavit".


B)  Jesse Hernandez was with Alfredo Lopez the night he was murdered.

  • Jesse Hernandez stated AT TRIAL that Manuel was at the crime scene BUT during court did NOT identify him  in the courtroom (Reporter's Record VOL 3, pg 187, lines11-17).

  • Jesse Hernandez stated that  he saw Manuel fire into  the air ONE time and heard a SECOND shot while running but didn't indicate where he heard the firing from or from who. (Report Record VOL 3, pg 190,lines20-25, pg 191, lines 1-5,pg 193, lines 15-25)


Physical Evidence:

  •  Forensic Scientist, Raul Guajardo  was hired to investigate Manuel's case post conviction.  "Police investigators NEVER determined or tried to determine the exact location where the victim was shot while running.  Officers did not diagram the shooting incident.  NO physical evidence was used for reconstructing the shooting ONLY witness statements were used to identify the shooter.  No one involved in the investigation knew the exact location where the victim was shot.   The bullet that caused the death of Alfredo Lopez was NEVER recovered.  The medical examiner did not explain how the path of the bullet could be consistent with someone who was shot while running.  The States Medical Examiner testified that this type of shooting is "complicated" and DID NOT offer an explanation for the bullet path.  BULLET PATH IS CONSISTENT WITH A BULLET THAT WAS FIRED AT ALFREDO LOPEZ EITHER WHILE FALLING OR CLOSE TO THE GROUND OR IN A PRONE POSITION.   No blood/tissue was detected on the casing and spent bullets recovered from the area.  IF MANUEL HAD FIRED THE FATAL BULLET, THE BULLET PATH WOULD HAVE BEEN STRAIGHT THROUGH ALFREDOS LOWER LEFT  BACK AND OUT THE FRONT LEFT ABDOMEN AREA.  THE BULLET PATH IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE STATES THEORY AS WELL AS ALBERT AYALAS TESTIMONY.  NO BULLET WAS RECOVERED FROM ALFREDO LOPEZ AND THERE IS NO FORENSIC EVIDENCE LINKING THE .40 CAL S&W GUN AS ACTUALLY FIRING THE FATAL BULLET.

  • Gun residue hand washing  and searches were only done on Manuel and his friends that were at the scene.  No other hand washings were done on any other person when there were  other people at the scene.  No one else was searched, hand washed or interviewed except Manuel and friends. (Court Report pg 57-58 lines 19-20)

  •  5-6 Days AFTER the shooting shell casings were found BUT NOT near where Alfredo Lopez body was lying.  Detectives found several casings away from the crime scene area.   The night of the murder detectives looked for shell casings near the body and none were found.   The next day detectives went again and NONE were found near where the body was found.      (Court Report pgs. 56,74-75 lines 8-19;19-25,1-16)

  • ONE shell casing was matched to the .40 caliber Manuel had that night.   2 others found were also from a .40 caliber gun which came from a different gun NOT fired by Manuel.  The one shell casing that matched Manuel's 40 caliber was NOT found near the body and was also said to be damaged (pg 77-78 lines 15-25;lines 1-6).

Open and Shut

1. Manuel has always said that he fired his gun at Jesse Hernandez and Alfredo Lopez to scare them off.  The ONE shell casing that matched Manuel's weapon was found on a "roadway" according to court documents (pg 78 lines 6-7).    The shell casing belonging to  Manuel's gun  was NOT found  at , around or near the body.     Alfredo was found on Bataan Street 200 yards away from where Manuel was located.  No blood trail  was ever found at,  around  or near where Alfredo was supposedly shot.  The  State  Star  Witness, Albert Ayala testified  to seeing  Manuel  running  after  Alfredo  and murdering him on Bataan St.


2. The gun residue hand washings were only done on Manuel  and the friends that were with him that night.  There were crowds of people  in the crime scene area.   Police Officers also stated to this area being a high crime area and even heard other gunshots upon arrival.  Detectives themselves noted to finding 18 shell casings belonging to other weapons. 


3.  Adriana Valdez was never called as a witness during trial only because she was pregnant and didn't "like" Manuel.  The trial attorney promised her she would not be called at trial. She stated that her husband George Valdez told her to say that Albert was NOT with them that night because Albert  was on a leg monitor and was  not supposed to be anywhere else besides his home.  Albert arrived with them in the truck and had no way  of knowing  what happened that night.    Albert was later beat up that night, allegedly by Jesse Hernandez.  Adriana also stated that she knew Albert  was getting involved in something that he had no knowledge about.


3. Sylvia Jimenez ( the other owner of the Jimenez household )  and Jose Nunez  where Manuel was at that night. Heard 2 additional gun shots after Jesse and Alfredo  ran off.  The TWO shots were never determined from who they came from and by that time Manuel was no longer in the area.  Sylvia Jimenez was also never called to testify in court about what she saw and heard that night.


4.  The bullet  was never found.  The autopsy report  states that the wound was 1/8 of  an inch.    According to Raul Guajardo, forensic scientist "Alfredo would have to of been on the ground in relation to the path of the bullet that Alfredo had. This negates what Albert Ayala said which states that Manuel "chased' after him and killed him with a .40 Caliber handgun.

Time Passes

Trial Attorney

The attorney we hired for trial , Anthony P. Calisi failed to call witnesses, hire expert witness (such as a ballistics/forensic scientist etc.) and did not use his legal skills to the best of his ability.  It was hard to overcome the states theory without expert testimony and this would have also demolished Albert Ayala's testimony since it was NOT TRUE.  Calisi charged at the time $50,000+ $5,000 for a ballistics expert  that was never called to go and testify in court.   He is no longer practicing law due to resignation in lieu of disciplinary action in another case.

www.texasbar.com


Confession

In November 2009 Richard Nunez ( brother of Jose Nunez ) met a woman named "Ameris". "Ameris" told Richard Nunez that her ex-boyfriend/husband was from an area of West Dallas which was from where Richard was from also. "Ameris" who we later found out was using her daughters name and whose real name is actually Roxanne Hernandez revealed specific details about her ex-boyfriend/husband. It just so happened that her ex was actually Jesse Hernandez who was at that time incarcerated on another charge.  Roxanne told Richard that Jesse had confessed to her that he accidentally killed Alfredo  Lopez.  Jesse stated every  time Alfredo's birthday nears he feels guilty about what he did and that the wrong person went to jail. 


Jesse Hernandez was known to carry a gun (.22-.25 ).  The night of the murder Jesse was seen going home with a bloody shirt and changed into a clean T- shirt.  Jesse didn't call the cops when Alfredo Lopez was shot.  Upon Adriana's arrival, she called the police once she saw that Alfredo was lying on the ground and needed help.


Back to the Star


On June 14, 2014 Albert Ayala directly contradicted his trial testimony. He said " I never saw Manuel Gallegos and I didn't see Manuel with a gun that night." Ayala explained he was persuaded to make false eyewitness claims by Jesse Hernandez. Albert Ayala signed an affidavit recanting his trial testimony.


On May 23, 2019 a hearing was granted.  Albert  Ayala openly recanted his trial testimony once again. 


On September 24, 2020 a Supplemental Record was received from the trial court in regards to the May 2019 hearing. The court recommendation was for relief to be denied  ( and it was on November 2020).  The court relied exclusively on a hearsay affidavit from a district attorney, in a post hearing interview by the D.A , Ayala rejected his recantations. 


**See photo gallery from affidavits, court papers, etc.