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Star-Telegram.com

Teens partied, re-enacted robbery of Pantego home

Posted Thursday, Jul. 12, 2012

By Dianna Hunt

dhunt@star-telegram.com

Teens held a celebration party and took photos of themselves in full regalia with guns drawn after robbing more than 20 high school students at a Halloween party, an accomplice testified Wednesday.

David Castro, 20, said that he waited outside in the car while others went inside the Pantego home on Oct. 30, 2010, and that the other youths later laughed about their exploits and re-enacted the crime for their friends.

"Did they think it was funny?" asked prosecutor Page Simpson.

"Yes," Castro told jurors.

Castro testified Wednesday in the aggravated robbery trial of Pedro Dominguez, 19, who is accused of being one of four gunmen who robbed the party held for members of the Arlington school district's gymnastics teams.

But Dominguez took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, saying the other witnesses lied about his involvement in the crime.

"I didn't rob anybody," Dominguez said. "I didn't brag about it."

Dominguez's story was backed up by testimony from Pablo Alejandro Garcia, who has pleaded guilty to his involvement in the crime and is awaiting sentencing. He testified for the defense Wednesday, saying he, Castro and two others were involved in the robbery.

"Did you do these robberies?" asked Dominguez's defense attorney, David Bays.

"Yes, sir," Garcia said.

"Did Pedro Dominguez do these robberies?" Bays asked.

"No, sir," Garcia said.

Garcia, who is awaiting sentencing, testified against the advice of his attorney, Edwin Youngblood, and despite warnings about possible perjury charges.

During sharp questioning of Dominguez and Garcia, prosecutors Brock Groom and Simpson suggested that Garcia had concocted a scheme to take the blame off the others. Garcia denied those allegations.

"Were you planning to take the fall for a lot of people?" Groom asked.

"No sir," Garcia said. "I always wanted to tell the truth."

Castro and another youth, Jonathan Diaz, 19, still face charges of aggravated robbery. A juvenile has been sentenced to 10 years in state juvenile facilities.

Wednesday's trial also included a harsh exchange in the courtroom between two defense attorneys: Bays and Castro's attorney, Lisa Mullen.

Castro testified repeatedly that he did not reach a deal for leniency with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony, but Bays called Mullen to the witness stand outside the presence of the jury to question her about it. Bays said he was "attempting to stop a fraud on the court."

Mullen countered that Bays had committed unethical behavior by talking to Castro in the jail without his attorney present.

Closing arguments in the trial are set to begin at 1 p.m. today before Visiting Judge David Cleveland.

Dianna Hunt, 817-390-7084

Twitter: @DiannaHunt

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