Edinburg ‘road rage’ murder trial continues, adopted father takes the stand

EDINBURG — Heartbreaking testimony detailing the tragedies that befell a 27-year-old man who died after being shot took the stage Friday morning in the trial of a 33-year-old man accused of murder.

Luis Manuel Rios arrived in the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday from Florida and by Friday morning, he took the stand in the third day of testimony in Fabian Paredes’ trial.

Paredes is accused of shooting and killing Joshua David Sanchez at the intersection of McIntyre and 10th on Oct. 9, 2017.

Evidence has shown that after Paredes fired the shot that killed Sanchez, the man and his wife, Jillian Rae-Paredes took off to South Padre Island before returning to their Edinburg apartment, where police arrested them on Oct. 11, 2017.

Paredes has maintained that he acted in self defense and the man’s attorney, Terry Canales, has said his client feared for his life as Sanchez followed them for five minutes in a fit of road rage and threatened their lives, a story Rae-Paredes testified to on Thursday via a deposition recorded in late July.

Canales has portrayed Sanchez to the jury as a man prone to fits of road rage who used marijuana and was having a tough time in life.

On Friday, Salinas called Rios to the stand — Sanchez’s adopted father — who painted the man in a different light.

Rios told the jury that Sanchez was not an aggressive man, but was a single father of two boys just trying to understand a life of tragedy who used marijuana to self medicate.

His biological mother died in a drive-by shooting in 1994 and no one in his family has any idea where the man’s biological dad is.

Rios’ sister mostly raised Sanchez because Rios was serving time, he said.

“I did stupid stuff,” Rios said.

But not Sanchez, he said.

Despite growing up in a rough neighborhood in Massachusetts where most people his age picked up charges, Sanchez didn’t.

“My son never picked up a charge,” Rios said.

Sanchez came to the Rio Grande Valley after trying to make life work with the mother of his children, who had a problem with pills, in Minnesota.

At some point, she joined Sanchez here.

But her addiction took over “and when she loses control, she’s off and running,” Rios said.

After Sanchez died, she took the kids — Justice, now 6, and Joshua, now 7.

However, there were problems, Rios said, and the woman called him and he went and picked up the children, who now live with him in Florida.

Rios told the jury he has temporary custody of the children and is working to adopt them.

The state and defense had rested Thursday, ushering in the way for closings and jury deliberations. But on Friday afternoon, Salinas moved to re-open to bring one more witness before the jury, which state District Judge Fernando Mancias granted.

Tamara Rodriguez, a civil attorney who witnessed Sanchez as he was shot, was brought back to the stand.

Her testimony centered around whether she could hear Sanchez yelling through her office window on McIntyre.

She maintained she did not, and that Sanchez appeared as if he were just waiting for the light to change.

Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected Monday.

mreagan@themonitor.com