Richard Montez was supposed to go to trial for capital murder on Aug. 1, almost exactly four-and-a-half years after prosecutors say he and two other men killed a teenager and an elderly man in a robbery.
Instead, with several witnesses unavailable and the judge unwilling to delay the trial, the special prosecutor requested the case be dismissed. He intends to refile the case, but that will require a grand jury re-indict Montez.
In the meantime, Montez has been released from the Bexar County Jail.
San Antonio police arrested Montez, along with with Andres Martinez and Juan Martinez, following a shooting and standoff at the Cassiano Homes in February 2018.
READ MORE: Trio now face capital murder charge in shooting that claimed 2 lives
According to their indictments, the three are accused of shooting Benito Gallegos, 69, during the robbery of another person. The trio is then accused of shooting in the direction of a nearby apartment and hitting Angel Gebara, 14, inside.
The trio barricaded themselves inside a home, police said, but ended up coming out without incident.
Court records show Andres Martinez and Juan Martinez both agreed to deals in 2021 that allow them to plead to the lesser charge of murder in exchange for their testimony.
Miguel Najera, the special prosecutor for Montez’s case, told KSAT it was not guaranteed he would have called the pair as witnesses.
Both of their sentencing hearings were originally scheduled for the same week as Montez’s trial, in case they were called to the stand, but have since been rescheduled to later in August.
Both men are currently out on bond.
Special prosecutors were appointed to all three cases after Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales recused himself in 2019. One of Gonzales’s senior staff members had previously represented Andres Martinez on the same case, according to a motion filed in Montez’s case.
With Montez finally scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 1, Najera requested the trial be delayed.
In his motion for continuance, Najera said three “essential” witnesses were unavailable, including the lead detective on the case. The now-retired investigator was in the Bahamas and would remain out of the country until the end of August, Najera said.
However, state District Judge Stephanie Boyd, who is hearing all three cases, denied Najera’s motion. Speaking by phone with KSAT, Boyd said everyone had the right to a speedy trial, and the defense had objected to Najera’s request.
By that point, the case had been ramping up to trial for three years, Boyd said.
Unwilling to proceed without his witnesses, Najera requested the case be dismissed. He told KSAT last week he intends to refile the case.
Najera had said he hoped to have Montez re-indicted by the end of the month, but he would have to work with the District Bexar County Attorney’s Office to get it in front of a grand jury.
A spokesperson for the DA’s Office told KSAT on Friday they did not have information on when that might happen.
If the case is refiled, Boyd said it would come back to her in the 187th District, and it would be put to trial “very quickly.”
Montez’s defense attorney declined to comment for this story.