Saturday, January 22, 2011

El Paso, TX: Trial Begins For Man Accused Of Killing His Girlfriend

Trial Underway For Man Accused In Killing
Dena Richardson/KFOX News Reporter
Posted: 5:44 pm MST January 21, 2011
Updated: 9:12 pm MST January 21, 2011

EL PASO, Texas -- On Friday, the trial began for a man accused of killing his girlfriend in her upper valley home on Christmas Eve in 2008.
Chris Sanchez, 48, has been charged with murder for the shooting death of Leah Leggett, 62. She was found inside her home in the 200 block of Fluorite with a gunshot wound to the torso and another gunshot wound to the back of the head.
In a recorded interview with detectives, Sanchez said an argument over sex led to the deadly shooting.
Sanchez said Leggett wanted to have sex and became angry when he turned her down. He said Leggett started choking him and hit him on the head and forearm with a gun.
Sanchez said he tried to take the gun and in the scuffle, three shots were fired.
Sanchez told detectives he saw Leggett fall to the ground.
"Was she bleeding?" asked Det. Joe Ochoa.
"I don't know," answered Sanchez. "I left. I was scared, dude."
A neighbor testified that she saw Leggett’s car peel out of the driveway about 11 a.m. She said she did not see the driver, but testified that Leggett normally drove the car. She said she had never met Chris Sanchez in her life.
Hours after the shooting, a man called 911 saying he saw a man shoot the passenger side window of a car. Police later learned the man was Sanchez and the car belonged to Leggett. The man reported the shooting on Mamie Road, which is about 3 miles from Leggett’s upper valley home in the 200 block of Fluorite.
Sanchez later told detectives that he shot the window because he locked the keys inside.
While investigating the shots fired call, officers found the car parked at a nearby Whataburger.
The jury saw pictures taken from surveillance video which showed Sanchez walking around the fast food restaurant. The pictures showed Sanchez looking outside toward the direction of his car as police officers surrounded it. Then Sanchez was seen leaving the restaurant.
Police found Sanchez several feet away in the parking lot of a strip mall. He was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Police said they found Leggett’s rings in his pocket.
In the recorded interview, Sanchez explained that he took the rings before the shooting with intentions of cleaning them.
Investigators also learned that Sanchez withdrew money from Leggett’s bank account after the shooting.
Sanchez said he often had Leggett’s ATM card and planned to use the money to go to the movies on the following day.
During cross-examination, the jury learned that Sanchez withdrew $80 while more than $7,000 was available in the account.
Sanchez told detectives he was in a relationship with Leggett for about 1 ½ years, and they lived together in her upper valley home for about eight months.
The officer who found Leggett’s body said he was familiar with both Leggett and Sanchez.
In November 2008, he delivered a protection order to Leggett, ordering Sanchez to stay away from her. Sanchez had been arrested on the night before, accused of assaulting Leggett. The officer said Leggett appeared to be very scared and beaten up.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Luis Islas asked the officer if he was aware that a week later, Leggett bailed Sanchez out, picked him up from jail and took him back to the Fluorite home to be with her.
The officer said he did not know that. He said he had met with Leggett again only about a week or two before her death.
The trial continues on Monday morning in the 41st District Court.

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