ENID, Okla. — Five people charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the Sept. 11, 2019, home invasion and attack of a 41-year-old Enid woman that ultimately resulted in her death will stand trial on their charges.
Luis Octavio Macias, 27; Eva Meraz-Corral, 48; Leoncio Hernandez, 34; Cory Mike Sanchez, 31; and Michael Anthony Huerta, 28; were bound over for trial on a charge of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of Diana Baez.
Special District Judge Brian Lovell, who presided over the hearing, told each defendant there was enough probable cause for them to stand trial on the charges.
Huerta was scheduled for district court arraignment before District Judge Dennis Hladik at 1:30 p.m. July 13. Sanchez was scheduled for arraignment at 10 a.m. July 23 before District Judge Paul Woodward. Macias was scheduled for arraignment before Associate District Judge Tom Newby at 10 a.m. Aug. 10. Hernandez was scheduled for arraignment at 1:30 p.m. July 16 before Hladik. Meraz-Corral was scheduled for arraignment at 9:30 a.m. July 15 before Hladik.
Assistant District Attorney Sean Hill rested the state's case after presenting criminal histories for some of the defendants and announcing the state's intentions to amend or add those histories to the charges.
Each of the defendants' attorneys entered demurs to the evidence presented since Monday, which ultimately were denied by Lovell.
Huerta’s attorney, Albert J. Hoch Jr., said the state failed to present any testimony from law enforcement saying his client was part of a conspiracy.
"He is, at most, seen getting into a vehicle with some people and going somewhere," Hoch told the court.
He said at best the state had shown Huerta may have been present when a crime was committed.
"There is no eyewitness testimony saying he did anything," Hoch said.
Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Bunn said there was testimony from two witnesses who saw Huerta come out of a room with three men and heard Hernandez ask Allan Sangret to drive them somewhere.
"There is substantial corroborating evidence that shows conspiracy," Bunn said.
Sanchez's attorney, Andrew Casey, argued the evidence presented during the hearing failed to show his client did anything, or even saw anything. He said his client was not a principal of the crime.
He said there was no evidence against Sanchez that was different from that against two of the state's witnesses: Blaine Coleman and Sangret. He said the testimony of the two, which included admissions of heavy drug abuse, "lack of veracity or credibility."
He said the two both had "incredibly suspect motives" to lie in their testimony.
Macias' attorney, Angela Singleton, called the testimony of another state's witness, Andrew Phelps, "very, very uncredible testimony." She said Sangret never came forward to law enforcement with information about the case until he was implicated as a getaway driver.
Bunn said Phelps' testimony included Macias having bloody shirts and other evidence to destroy.
"If he didn't do his job brother would be mad," Bunn quoted Phelps.
Hernandez's attorney, Thomas A. Griesedieck, also said the state failed to meet its burden of proof against his client.
"Nothing we've heard this week suggests a conspiracy," he said. "There's no corroboration that any of this occurred."
Griesedieck said the state failed to present any evidence of an agreement between the defendants.
Bunn said there was testimony concerning Hernandez agreeing "to take care of" Baez.
Merez-Corral’s attorney, Sammy Duncan, said the state failed to charge her client properly.
"Frankly, they're just not the right charges," she said. "There are degrees of murder for a reason."
Instead, Duncan said Merez-Corral should face a charge of second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter.
"In no world is first-degree murder right for Eva Merez-Corral," she said.
She said Merez-Corral had no knowledge a felony would be committed and did not meet the elements required for a charge of first-degree murder.
Bunn said in her interview with the FBI, Merez-Corral admitted to wanting one of Baez's teeth removed and for someone to send a message to Baez.
Sanchez was charged Tuesday with a felony count of intimidation of a witness.
He is accused of threatening Sangret on Sunday while at Garfield County Detention Facility, according to the charges. He faces no less than a year in jail or no more than 10 years in prison.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, Sangret told jail officials he is testifying against another inmate, Sanchez, and that Sanchez was yelling over the outside recreation yard walls to him, citing his family's address.
Sangret said Sanchez also yelled that he needed to watch what he said and again repeated his family's address, according to the affidavit. Sangret said it implied to him that if Sanchez could not get to him Sanchez would cause harm to his family.
Sangret said at one point Sanchez was brought to the area of the jail where he is being held, according to the affidavit. He said Sanchez was trying to to get other inmates to get at him for being a snitch.
Sangret said he was in more fear for his family's lives than anything, according to the affidavit.