Supervisor testifies about fatal sting operation

May 25, 2010 3:59:18 PM PDT
It was an undercover sting that ended in the murder of a Houston police officer, and the details of that operation are being dissected in the trial of two people accused of murder. Officer Henry Canales was fatally shot during the undercover sting involving stolen TVs in June 2009. Roberto Carrillo, who shot Officer Canales, was killed by officers during the shootout. Andres Nava Maldonado and Xiomara Mendez Rosales, who were also present at the sting, have been charged with murder in Officer Canales' death.

Defense lawyers Tuesday wanted to make clear to the jury that the two defendants on trial were not responsible for the officer's death.

Officer Canales' supervising officer, an undercover officer himself, was the first person to get to Officer Canales after he was shot. He was the last one to talk to Officer Canales as he died.

The undercover officer took the stand Monday afternoon and all of Tuesday morning, as the audio recording of the sting was played again while the prosecutors dissected every line.

Prosecutors raised the issue of why the supervisor who could see and hear Officer Canales didn't rush in sooner with backup.

The supervisor testified, "If I had heard 'done deal,' I would have considered that a bust signal and we would have come down with everything we had."

Instead, the supervisor called Canales. It happened after Officer Canales says out loud, "It's a done deal," and one of the suspects, Roberto Carrillo, becomes suspicious of Officer Canales.

Prosecutor: "Why did you make a phone call?"
Supervisor: "I wanted to say, 'Do we come in, yes or no?' I wasn't expecting (Canales) to say 'It's a done deal.'"
Prosecutor: "Did Henry ever answer the phone 'Go ahead'?"
Supervisor: "No."
Prosecutor: "Why didn't you hear 'Go ahead' when you heard 'It's a done deal'?"
Supervisor: "Because I was watching Canales and Carrillo. I hung up because Carrillo was almost at Canales' back. I didn't want Canales to say anything that might alarm Carrillo. By the time Canales said, 'Go ahead,' I'd hung up."

A few seconds later, over a dozen shots were fired as Canales and Carrillo shot at each other. At the same time, police rushed in. Both Carrillo and Canales died. It was a tragic outcome, says the defense, that does not involve the defendants, Xiomara Mendez Rosales and Andres Nava Maldonado.

"Whoever had a gun and whoever shot the shots, we know that our client did not and the state has to prove that she should have anticipated that that would have occurred. We think that that clearly goes to show she is not guilty of that offense," said Bob Loper, attorney to Mendez Rosales.

A point of contention during the trial has been the audio recording of the end of the sting, and who said what as the situation disintegrated into gunfire.

Prosecutor: "Have you heard the words, 'tirale' ('shoot him')?"
Supervisor: "Yes."
Prosecutor: "Any doubt Nava said that?"
Supervisor: "No."

[ LISTEN TO THE AUDIO RECORDING ]

Testimony will continue on Wednesday. If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.


Load Comments