By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Jurors heard from several witnesses Friday, including the brother of the defendant, in the second trial regarding an alleged carjacking that took place in January.
Billy Stensland, younger brother of Bobby Stensland, 19, took the stand. Billy said he knew of a “Mauricio,” the name used by co-defendant Jose Gil, 25, who was found guilty earlier this month on one count each of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. Gil also took the stand later in the day.
As for Billy, he told attorneys Friday that he told officers that Gil and Bobby were in the same gang. Billy said on Jan. 10, the day of the alleged incident, he took Bobby and Gil to Garden City to a trailer court.
The witness then said that Bobby said when the alleged carjacking was taking place, the defendant had stayed in the vehicle, and he did not want to take part in the crime.
Prior to the afternoon session, attorneys for both sides viewed portions of a video recording of an interview between Gil and the lead investigator, Liberal Police Detective Russell Almes outside the presence of the jury. The jury is scheduled to see that video when the case resumes at 9 a.m. Monday.
After the jury was brought back into the courtroom, a few more witnesses were called to the stand, the final of which was Gil himself.
Under oath, Gil admitted to lying to Almes, something he said he did to get him out of trouble. After serving time in the Finney County Jail, Gil said he wrote a statement sometime in September trying to come clean about the events surrounding the alleged incident.
Gil said he was supposed to get a cut of $300 for his help in the crime and that the money was to come from the stolen vehicle. Gil said he was arrested along with co-defendant Matthew Perez, 27, at Perez’s house in Garden City following the incident.
Gil also told prosecutor Russell Hasenbank that he used a chrome 9mm gun at the taco stand where he, along with Perez, Bobby and Juan Garza, 26, allegedly carjacked a Blazer belonging to Hector Mata on the night of Jan. 10.
Hasenbank showed Gil a gun which he identified as the 9mm. Gil admitted to lying to Almes about whose gun it was, saying it was Garza’s.
Gil said when he was interviewed by Almes, he was coming off of a high and said, “If I told the detective what he wanted to hear, he would let me go home.”
Under cross examination, Gil told Bobby’s attorney, Derek Miller, he had substituted Bobby for himself at the taco stand, saying Bobby and Garza were the ones approaching Mata’s vehicle. Mata had earlier testified, however, that two Hispanic males approached his Blazer. Gil said Bobby is white.
A re-direct from Hasenbank revealed that Gil had given false names for the other three defendants when he was interviewed by Almes.
Stensland, Gil, Garza and Perez were arrested between Jan. 29 and March 1 by authorities in Ford and Finney counties, according to a statement from Liberal Police Capt. Pat McClurg.
Those arrests came following the alleged Jan. 10 incident in which a handicapped victim was forced out of his vehicle without his wheelchair and had to crawl for help.
The victim’s Blazer was later recovered in Finney County.