First week of Sergio Almanza trial comes to a close

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police say Sergio Almanza was driving an ATV drunk when he ran a red light on Central in 2021.

7-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya was crossing the street with his family after leaving River of Lights. Police claim Almanza crashed into Pronoy, killing him.

Almanza’s defense doesn’t deny he drove recklessly, but they say he was not drunk.

On Friday, the owner of the restaurant that Almanza ate at prior to the crash testified. The jury saw two receipts listing a number of alcoholic drinks.

The defense pushed back against that evidence, noting the receipts were collected months after the crash.

Defense attorney: There’s no way you can say with any certainty that that receipt was associated with Mr. Almanza?

Leonard Hernandez, restaurant owner: Not with certainty, I can’t. That’s the closest that I got to it of all the receipts that we saw.

The defense and prosecution both had questions about whether Almanza was showing signs of impairment.

Defense attorney: When you cashed out Mr. Almanza that night, did you observe him to be exhibiting any of those signs of consuming alcohol that we just went over?

Leonard Hernandez: No.

Defense attorney: So he was not swaying on his feet?

Leonard Hernandez: No.

Another witness also returned to the stand Friday. Edgar Casas, a friend of Almanza, had started to testify on Tuesday but his testimony was put on hold when it was possible that he opened himself up for prosecution. Since then Casas has been granted immunity from prosecution.

On Friday, Casas admitted that he lied in his earlier testimony, and said he helped Almanza remove a roof rack from his ATV after he told him about the crash.

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