UPDATE, Dec. 15: An El Paso man whose capital murder case was dismissed over prosecutorial “vindictiveness” may be transferred to Las Cruces to face burglary charges there. A source tells ABC-7 Ivan Gabaldon has waived his right to extradition. The Las Cruces district attorney says the burglary charges stem from crimes committed in February.
The capital-murder case against the 20-year-old was dismissed Tuesday. There was no word on when he would be released from the El Paso County Jail where he’s been held since his arrest in March.
UPDATE, Dec. 14: A judge on Tuesday dismissed the murder case against Ivan Gabaldon, the 20-year-old accused of killing a 63-year-old man back in February, citing "prosecutorial vindictiveness" from the El Paso District Attorney's Office.
"I am very concerned and have been for a while because of the lack of diligence that the State of Texas has... the manner in which they've -- you all have been handling these cases," said 210th District Court Judge Alyssa Perez.
Gabaldon was charged in the deadly stabbing of Juan Garcia Flores after the two men allegedly engaged in a paid sexual encounter. Gabaldon has maintained he killed Flores in self-defense.
The District Attorney's Office was seeking the death penalty for Gabaldon, after upgrading his murder charge to capital murder last month.
Gabaldon's attorneys sought to dismiss the case saying that the state opted to seek the death penalty as "retribution" after the prosecution's request for more time to prepare for trial was denied by Perez, who noted Gabaldon had a constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Perez agreed with the defense motion on Tuesday and said she was signing a full dismissal order in the case.
The DA's Office declined to comment on the judge's decision to drop the charges.
ORIGINAL REPORT, Nov. 29: EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Defense attorneys for Ivan Gabaldon, the 20-year-old accused of murdering a 63-year-old man in February, have filed a motion to get his case dismissed citing "prosecutorial vindictiveness" from the El Paso District Attorney's Office.
Gabaldon is accused of stabbing and killing Juan Garcia Flores after the two men allegedly engaged in a paid sexual encounter. He was arrested on February 28, and has remained in jail since. Gabaldon's trial is set to start on Dec. 2.
Gabaldon claims Flores attacked him with the knife first, and that he was acting in self-defense.
The District Attorney's office is pursuing the death penalty for Gabaldon, after his murder charge was upgraded to capital murder in early November.
Gabaldon's attorneys said the state opted to seek the death penalty as "retribution" after prosecutors asked for more time to prepare for the trial. That request for more time was denied by 210th District Court Judge Alyssa Perez.
"The moment when the State of Texas announced it had actually made good on their threat and re-indicted this young man for Capital Murder and then the literal stomach-turning Notice to Seek Death that was filed less than a week after a full PR [personal recognizance] bond was offered to the Defendant. All of these circumstances, when considered together, prove the “realistic likelihood” that the State of Texas punished the Defendant’s request to go to trial when the State was not ready," the defense's court filing said.
You can read the defense's full motion below: