San Antonio, Texas, July 21, 2016: Today, Bexar County jurors in the 175th District Court took just 20 minutes to sentence Jose Gutierrez, age 34, to life in prison and assessed a $10,000.00 fine. Jurors found Gutierrez guilty of the 2013 shooting murder of his childhood friend, Raul Garcia.
In August 2013, Garcia’s body was found inside a vehicle doused in gasoline in Atascosa County. Garcia, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was wrapped in a comforter. Witnesses later told authorities that after shooting his friend three times, Gutierrez made other people, which included a 14-year-old girl, help clean up the crime scene. They said Garcia’s body was loaded up in the back of the defendant’s pickup truck and eventually the body was dumped in a field out in Atascosa County. The defendant also forced Garcia’s girlfriend and another man to get in the vehicle to transport the body. While out in the field, the victim’s girlfriend was able to get away and ran several miles to a convenience store to call for someone to pick her up. Witnesses said after Garcia’s body was placed in his own vehicle, it was doused with gasoline and the plan was to burn the body and vehicle.
However, the plan was foiled when the defendant was spooked by vehicle lights on the road and they left without setting the fire. The defendant then drove to his mother’s house to clean up his pickup truck. Another witness, who was forced by the defendant to help dump the body, was able to run and flag down a security guard for help and to call the police. Once police arrived, the witness took officers to all three locations – where the shooting happened, where the body was dumped and where the pickup truck was cleaned. While this was happening, the defendant and family left San Antonio. Gutierrez was arrested about a month later in Jacksonville, Texas. Additionally, while out on bond and awaiting trial, Gutierrez cut off his GPS ankle monitor and fled the courthouse right before jury selection was to begin. During the punishment phase, jurors learned of Gutierrez’s prior misdemeanor and state jail felony convictions, along with his affiliation and membership with the Mexican Mafia. While awaiting trial for murder, Gutierrez also allegedly committed additional offenses. Murder is a first degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison, and up to a $10,000.00 fine. Assistant District Attorneys Marilisa Janssen and Joshua Somers from the Criminal Trial Division prosecuted the case against Gutierrez in the 175th District Court.