Murder trial for San Juan man set to begin

The murder trial of Lamar Lawson Martinez has been postponed.

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EDINBURG — The trial of a San Juan man accused of beating a woman to death is set to begin Wednesday after jury selection concluded late Tuesday afternoon.

The state will argue to a panel of jurors that Lamar Lawson Martinez punched Sonya Mynette Casady De La Cruz to death in late November 2017 in McAllen. Lawson is also accused of running her over with his vehicle before fleeing the scene.

The 51-year-old woman’s body was found at about 5 a.m. Nov. 28, 2017, in the 600 block of West Beech Avenue in McAllen, police officials said at the time.

De La Cruz — originally of Frankfurt, Indiana, who lived in Texas for more than two decades — died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head caused by punches to her face, and someone driving over her with a vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit released by the police.

On the day of the crash, McAllen police investigators were able to locate Lawson through the use of surveillance footage, which led them to Lawson’s Chevrolet Equinox at a nearby hotel.

Subsequently, Lawson confessed to “having caused the victim’s injury that led to her death,” according to a statement he made to police officers.

Lawson, 27, has been in custody since he was booked into the county jail on Nov. 30, 2017 — more than 800 days ago.

Opening statements are set to begin Wednesday morning in the trial, with testimony to begin shortly afterward.

The state, which updated its witness list earlier this month, has more than 70 witnesses scheduled for potential testimony, including police officers who responded to the scene of the incident, emergency medical staff, expert witnesses, and members of De La Cruz’s family, to name a few, according to court records.

If convicted of murder, a first-degree felony, Lawson faces up to life in prison.