Court orders new trial in 2006 gang slaying

Published On: Apr 02 2013 01:32:29 PM PDT
BOISE, Idaho -

 The Idaho Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of first-degree murder in a 2006 gang-related shooting in a small bar in southwestern Idaho.

In a 3-2 decision issued Monday, the court vacated the conviction of Hector Almaraz Jr., who was found guilty by a jury in the shooting death of Gabriel Flores at a crowded Fruitland bar.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roger Burdick concluded the district judge abused his discretion during the trial by failing to suppress witness testimony that identified Almaraz as the shooter. The justices also ruled the lower court erred in limiting testimony of an expert witness.

But justices Warren Jones and Jim Jones dissented, arguing the trial errors would not have changed the jury's verdict in the case.