EDINBURG — Victor Alejandro Godinez pleaded not guilty to three charges during a formal arraignment hearing Monday.
Before the hearing got underway, 389th state District Court Judge Letty Lopez appointed Edinburg-based criminal defense attorney O. Rene Flores to represent Godinez. The appointment was made to avoid delaying the hearing once again after Godinez appeared without an attorney for a second straight week.
During a Sept. 30 arraignment hearing, the court questioned Godinez’s ability to retain an attorney, after Godinez told the court he would speak with his mother about retaining one, and the case was reset for Monday morning.
Godinez, after briefly conferring with Flores, pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder and two counts of attempted capital murder.
A Hidalgo County grand jury handed down a capital murder indictment last month shortly after Sanchez died Aug. 24 as a result of complications during surgery to treat injuries he suffered during the April shooting.
As is common with capital murder cases, the death penalty remains on the table up to the time of the trial, at which time the state would have to announce to the court how they would proceed.
Godinez is accused of shooting Sanchez, 48, April 6 after the suspect fled a car crash the trooper responded to on North 10th Street and Freddy Gonzalez Drive in McAllen.
The 24-year-old man is accused of running away after shooting Sanchez once in the head and once in the shoulder.
Sanchez went through intense rehabilitation and multiple surgeries after the shooting. However, he succumbed to his injuries Aug. 24, following a surgery in Houston.
Godinez is also accused of shooting at two Edinburg police officers who caught up with him in the 1500 block of South Maltese in Edinburg after an extensive manhunt. Police eventually apprehended him east of Mon Mack Road and State Highway 107.
The Edinburg officers were not hit and police say they recovered a .357 revolver authorities say Godinez used in the shooting.
Godinez was indicted earlier this year on separate attempted capital murder charges stemming from his alleged attempt to shooti at the Edinburg officers. Court records list State Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr. as his attorney in that case. However, after the hearing Monday, the state is expected to ask the court to consolidate those charges into the capital murder case.
Godinez remained jailed Monday on $3 million in bonds and is expected back before the court Dec. 5 for his first pre-trial hearing.