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Triple homicide case nears trial

Posted: Friday, Mar 1st, 2013

Stuffed animals, flowers, crosses and other Christian symbols represent the lives of Anisa Montoya, Serina Sena and Selena Mascarenas at this memorial at the Pueblo intersection where they died on April 28, 2012. Courier photo by Ruth Heide

Courier editor

PUEBLO — A trial for the man charged with three Alamosa teens’ deaths last year in Pueblo is still scheduled for next month.

Pueblo District Judge Larry Schwartz yesterday agreed to continue a pre-trial hearing until March 18 for Gilbert Sanchez, 36, charged with multiple counts of vehicular homicide in connection with the April 28, 2012, deaths of Alamosa youth Anisa Montoya, 18, Serina Sena, 14, and Selena Mascarenas, 14.

Sanchez’s defense attorneys asked the judge for more time to prepare for the pretrial hearing but did not ask for a continuance of the jury trial that is scheduled to begin April 2.

The defense attorneys requested a two-week continuance of the pretrial hearing because they had just received decisions on previous defense motions they had filed last year.

They also said between February 20 and 25 they received 2,790 pages of additional discovery in the case from the district attorney’s office. New discovery includes audio and video evidence, autopsy reports, photos, medical reports, expert witness information and criminal history information regarding witnesses.

The defense attorneys said they now needed time to digest and process the information they recently received and see how it would affect their case.

Judge Schwartz asked if any more evidence was likely to be sent from the prosecution to the defense in this case, and the district attorneys handling this case said there would be no further evidence.

They told the judge there was a motion they were going to file in response to a discovery motion regarding airbag control modules in the cars but they did not know if that would necessitate any legal argument.

The judge asked the same question of the defense, and defense attorneys said they did not believe they would have anything more to share with the DA’s office but needed to review what they had just received before they would know for sure.

Schwartz agreed to reset the pretrial conference to give the defense time to review the most recent information they had received.

The next hearing is scheduled for the afternoon of March 18 in Pueblo.

Sanchez was present for the court hearing yesterday. He has remained out of custody on bond for much or the time since the incident last spring.

Also present in court were numerous members of the victims’ families, some of them wearing T-shirts depicting the three teens who died.

A memorial also remains in Pueblo at the corner of Northern and Pueblo Blvd. where the three youth were killed. In addition to crosses with their names and messages not to drink and drive, the memorial includes artificial floral arrangements, stuffed animals now weathered by time, a Holy Bible, a deflated “Happy Birthday” helium balloon, a silver wreath with the word “peace” and three angels atop three artificial poinsettias, one for each of the three girls.

The teens were leaving a church event in Pueblo last April 28 when an apparently intoxicated Sanchez allegedly sped through a stoplight and crashed into the car Anisa Montoya was driving. She and her two passengers were killed at the scene. Anisa was Alamosa High School senior class president and would have graduated on May 26, 2012. She was a musician who played the guitar, piano, bass and drums, sang and wrote music. She was her parents’ only daughter.

Also her parents’ only daughter, Selena was an eighth grader at Ortega Middle School. She collected big stuffed animals.

Serina was an eighth grader at Sangre de Cristo. She loved music and singing, art and reading.

Sanchez was charged with: three counts Felony 3 vehicular homicide-driving under the influence causing death; three counts Felony 4 vehicular homicide-driving in a reckless manner causing death; two counts Felony 4 vehicular assault-driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury; two counts Felony 5 vehicular assault-driving in a reckless manner causing serious bodily injury; two counts Felony 3 child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury; misdemeanor driving under the influence; traffic infraction for reckless driving; and traffic infraction for failing to stop at a red light.

The two passengers in Sanchez’s vehicle were also injured in the crash.

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