AUSTIN, Texas - There was conflicting testimony Wednesday in the murder trial of George De la Cruz. He is charged with killing his estranged wife Julie Ann Gonzalez. She vanished 5 years ago and her body has never been found.
De la Cruz is accused of orchestrating an elaborate cover up of the murder of his wife. Part of that scheme allegedly involves a shed in the back yard of his south Austin home.
"Well if you had a crime scene at that point, would you have treated it like one? It was suspicious looking time," said APD Detective John Brooks.
Brooks was one of the original APD officers investigating the March 2010 disappearance of Julie Ann Gonzalez. Brooks told the jury Wednesday, inside the shed he discovered what appeared to be a freshly dug hole under the plywood floor.
"It just looked very out of place, it didn't, I couldn't come up with a logical reason why that would be there," said Brooks.
Prosecutors are suggesting the hole may have been a temporary shallow grave for the body of Gonzalez which has never been found. But in cross examination defense attorney Robert McCabe challenged that idea. He was able to point out that police didn't find any clothing in the hole, or blood, hair, and fibers that would have them think then a crime had occurred there.
De La Cruz, according to court documents, explained the hole was dug to run plumbing to the shed so it could be converted into an apartment.
Another conflict in the prosecution's case involves Gonzalez's car. There are now two different accounts of who was in it shortly after De La Cruz claims she left town with another lover. The car was found parked at a Walgreens on south 1st near De la Cruz's home. A neighbor has testified seeing a man drive off in it, but Wednesday, store clerk Robert Guerra says a woman arrived at the Walgreens with the car.
"She asked if she could leave her car there, she was having car problems."
Guerra was shown pictures of some of the customers who came in that night, but said none were of the women he saw 5 years ago. He did tell the jury a picture of Julie Ann Gonzalez, produced by her mother when she came by the store a few days later, looked similar to the woman he saw.
"But to be fair, that girl looks like a friend of mine, that's why I recognize her probably, but I probably recognize her from the night too."
It's a conflict that defense attorneys were quick to jump on and may later exploit. Their client claims his estranged wife ran off and may still be alive today.