A man charged in the shooting death of his former roommate, originally scheduled to plead guilty Thursday morning, requested a new lawyer and a bench trial for his case.
After filing a waiver of right to a jury trial on March 28, a guilty plea hearing for Joshua Carrasco was set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the 70th District Court of Judge Denn Whalen, but no plea was made. The defendant’s court-appointed attorney, Tony Chavez, informed Judge Whalen that Carrasco had requested a new lawyer and a bench trial. John Shrode is the prosecutor on the case.
District Attorney Bobby Bland said a new lawyer would be appointed for Carrasco and a bench trial would be scheduled for a later date, but no trial date has been set at this time.
A bench trial, as opposed to a jury trial, is a case presented directly to the judge, rather than a case presented to a jury.
Carrasco, 30, was first charged with murder in April 2015 after he turned himself in following the shooting death of Orlando Mendivil.
The probable cause affidavit stated Carrasco and Mendivil had previously been roommates at an apartment complex before being evicted, and Carrasco’s cousin told police someone broke into Mendivil and Carrasco’s apartment and took several items. Both men reportedly accused each other of being the suspect, Carrasco’s cousin told police.
On the day of the shooting, Carrasco, his cousin and Mendivil were all in the living room of his cousin’s home in the 1600 block of West Seventh Street when Carrasco lit a package of fireworks and threw them out the front door of the home, a probable cause affidavit stated.
Carrasco then reportedly shot Mendivil with a gun while the fireworks were going off before fleeing the scene in a dark green Ford Durango, the report detailed, and Mendivil was found dead at the home by police and EMS with a gunshot wound to the head.
Jail records show Carrasco has been in the Ector County Detention Center since April 2015 and has a $500,000 bond.