First witness takes the stand in Sergio Almanza trial
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The trial continues for Sergio Almanza who is accused of driving his ATV, drunk, and causing a crash that killed a little boy outside the River of Lights.
The first witness to take the stand was Edgar Casas who is a friend of Almanza, and was subpoenaed to testify in court.
Casas said he went off-roading with Almanza prior to the crash. He testified most people in their group were drinking that day.
Casas did not witness the crash. He said, in court, Almanza brought the ATV to his home and Almanza told him about the crash.
Casas stated he gave Almanza tools to remove a roof rack from the vehicle, and even moved the ATV from his front yard to his backyard.
The defense objected to his continued testimony arguing Casas was opening himself up for prosecution, and his rights could be violated.
“As uncomfortable as it is judge for Mr. Duran to have to contend with this witnesses constitutional right we can’t ignore it. He has a right to the assistance of counsel at this point. We can’t side step that,” said Ahmad Assed, defense attorney.
Prosecutors said they filed a motion to shield Casas from prosecution should he testify, but it was never ruled on.
Casas decided to not testify further without speaking to a lawyer – his testimony is on hold.
In the meantime, prosecutors say they have a letter from Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman saying the DA’s office will not prosecute Casas based on any testimony he offers in court.