BEAUMONT - A Beaumont man charged in the 2015 murder of a Lamar student took the stand Thursday afternoon in his own defense.
Prosecutors say Orlando Garcia misidentified Rhydan Bolton and shot him to death inside his car at a Beaumont convenience store in the city's south end.
Garcia took the stand late in the afternoon and testified he never left his home the night Rhydan Bolton was shot to death instead claiming he was at a family BBQ.
Garcia then testified he went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and woke up early the next day to help his mom with her business.
Garcia said he spoke to police and allowed them to search his home but testified they never found a weapon.
During cross examination, Prosecutor Rachel Grove asked Garcia if it was a coincidence that several witnesses testified that he kidnapped and jumped two people. She continued by asking him sarcastically if all the witnesses were involved in a big conspiracy against him.
Garcia kept repeating on the stand that the witnesses were lying.
“There a lot of misconceptions a lot of these things don’t add up,” said Garcia.
The defendant also told the jury he’s never been involved in a drug deal. However, police believe his motive behind the murder was to get payback after he received fake money from a drug deal.
Garcia was also asked about a bribe he made to another witness named Diego Torres. Torres testified Wednesday afternoon that Garcia came up to him and asked him to lie on the stand for him.
Garcia argued Torres approached him in jail to ask him for money. Garcia explained he only wanted Torres to tell the truth and offered to pay him if he got in trouble
Earlier in the day Garcia's mother, Olivia Rosas, took the stand and insisted to the jury that her son never left the house the night of the murder.
Under cross examination by the prosecution she argued that she would have heard him leave the house if he had done so because of door sensors that would have gone off.
The mother said she believes her son is innocent but told the jury if he is convicted he needs to face the consequences of his actions.
Several other family members and friends told the jury they saw Garcia at the BBQ but never saw him leave the house.
The defense also called Diego Torres to the stand to question him. Torres testified earlier this week that he was jumped by Kristofer and Orlando Garcia the night of the murder. He explained the Garcia’s kept questioning him about a man named Anthony who is also known as “Dula" who owed them money from a drug deal.
He said he noticed Orlando Garcia had a gun in his hand before he was shoved into a truck with a bag over his head. After a while, he said both of the Garcia’s jumped out of the car and he heard several rounds of gunfire.
When defense attorney, Tom Burbank questioned Torres he asked him about a post he made on Facebook that said: “F*** being friendly I have murder on my mind, I need that n**** dead by 5:00.”
The defense lawyer pointed out that Torres made the post on Facebook the day of the murder.
During cross examination, Torres argued the statuses he posted were song lyrics. He said the song lyrics he posted are from Gucci Mayne and Kevin Gates lyrics.
He stated it was a coincidence that he posted the status the day of the murder.
Earlier in testimony a crime lab technician testified that Rhydan Bolton’s car was shot at 8 times. She explained she found 18 shell casings from the scene of the murder.
The next witness to testify was a gun expert who told the jury she found .380 caliber bullet casings from a Hi-Point Firearm manufacturer. She said she also found .40 caliber bullet casings from a Smith and Wesson firearm.
A Beaumont police sergeant showed the jury surveillance video from the night of the murder. In the video you can see Bolton’s friend run from the car and go into the convenience store to call the police.
The defense rested its case late Thursday.
Closing arguments begin Friday at 8:30 a.m.
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