Benito Gomez murder trial wraps up

Jury instructions and deliberations are on tap for Monday morning.

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WALLA WALLA -- Witness testimony and presentation of evidence in the murder trial of Benito Gomez concluded Friday afternoon in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle rested his case shortly before 2 p.m.

Immediately afterward, defense attorney Jerry Makus said he was resting on the prosecution's case, meaning he would present no witnesses to testify or introduce any evidence.

Gomez elected not to testify in his own defense.

The trial will resume Monday morning when Judge Donald W. Schacht will instruct the jury on relevant law, the panel will hear closing arguments by the attorneys and begin deliberating Gomez's fate.

On Friday, jury members heard testimony from Andres Solis, who said he was with Gomez and other fellow gang members at what was going to be a fight in the alley with the rival gang. Solis said he didn't know anyone was armed with a gun and didn't see who fired, killing rival Julio Martinez.

Solis said the first shot came from his left side. "After the first gunshot, I turned around and ran because I thought we were getting shot," he told the jury.

He acknowledged he initially lied to police several times about his involvement because he "wasn't able to go to jail."

He wasn't arrested or charged in connection with the case.

Since Wednesday when testimony began, a total of about 20 spectators -- representing either support for Gomez or on behalf of Martinez -- has attended each court session.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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