A 28-year-old man on trial for allegedly gunning down a Pasco couple in 2008 had several outbursts in court this morning.
Jose Garcia-Morales shouted a number of things in Spanish, which were not interpreted for the court.
Judge Carrie Runge told Garcia-Morales that if he continues to disrupt the proceedings, he will be sanctioned.
Today is the first day of Garcia-Morales' murder trial in Franklin County Superior Court.
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His outbursts occurred during a hearing in a courtroom separate from where 90 potential jurors waited for selection to start.
But then once in front of the jury pool, Garcia-Morales continued to interrupt the judge and at one point brushed off an attempt by his lawyer, Moe Spencer, to quiet him down.
"Mr. Garcia-Morales, ... let the record reflect that you are in open court and that you have your head bowed and your index fingers in your (ears) and now you have your entire hands covering your ears," Runge said in the earlier hearing.
"Mr. Garcia-Morales, I need you to be silent throughout these proceedings," she added. "We're trying to conduct court. You are interrupting court when you choose to have outbursts. ... You make it difficult for us, sir."
Garcia-Morales repeatedly has refused to cooperate with jail staff and often has been brought into court in a wheelchair. However, today he walked into both courtroom while wearing street clothes.
During the hearings, he often leaned forward over his lap and put his fingers in his ears, but a number of times he would sit up straight and bounce before bowing down again.
At one point, he looked directly into a television news camera, and when before the jury he glanced around at all the people.
Garcia-Morales is on trial in Franklin County Superior Court for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree rendering criminal assistance and two counts of second-degree assault. All of the charges include firearm allegations.
He is accused of going with his older brother on Dec. 10, 2008, to confront Alfredo Garcia about money they thought they were owed for not being hired to work in the fields.
The men stopped by Garcia's 505 Manzanita Lane home.
Garcia was killed by gunfire, shot six times.
His wife, Maria Ramirez de Garcia, also was shot. She survived but now must use a wheelchair to get around and has no memory of what happened after she dialed 911.
Ramon Garcia-Morales was convicted last year and is serving a 67-year sentence.
Lawyers on Jose Garcia-Morales' trial expect jury selection to last through Friday. Opening statements should be given Monday with testimony going through the week.
For more on this story, read Thursday's Herald and tricityherald.com.
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