Grape Creek Capital Murder Trial Begins Today

 

SAN ANGELO, TX — The accused shooter in the Grape Creek killing that occurred last August is scheduled to stand trial this morning in Judge Weatherby’s 340th District Court, nearly a year after the defendant is alleged to have taken the life of his wife with a handgun.

Matthew Sammuel Salazar, 32, is charged with the capital murder of his wife, Heather Shane Salazar, and the attempted capital murder of her alleged lover, Bradley Glenn Floyd.

The incident occurred on Aug. 31, 2013 at Floyd’s residence, located at 8213 Poplar Lane in Tom Green County. According to a complaint filed with the court, the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at approximately 12:20 p.m. on that day in reference to a shooting.

When deputies arrived on scene, Salazar surrendered and was taken into custody. He then admitted to killing his wife with a handgun and to having shot Bradley.

At a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 5, Salazar pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictments. The final pre-trial hearing was held on Wednesday last week, where attorneys for the state and the defense declared themselves ready to stand trial.

Some 40-50 photos, audio from the 911 call, testimony from the medical examiner, and a brief video interview conducted while Salazar was in custody are anticipated to be presented as evidence during the trial, which is estimated to last four to five days.

Additionally, a three-page written confession given to Texas Ranger Nick Hanna and TGC investigator Terry Lowe will be admitted, with the omission of a single line.

“If I understand the definition of temporary insanity, this right here was it,” Salazar wrote while in custody. Defense Attorney John Stacey Young and assisting attorney James P. Sadler stated at the pre-trial hearing that Salazar has undergone forensic psychological evaluations and that temporary insanity cannot be proven.

A likely defense, as discussed at the pre-trial hearing, may include “sudden passion”, which the Texas Penal Code defines as “…passion directly caused by and arising out of provocation by the individual killed or another acting with the person killed which passion arises at the time of the offense and is not solely the result of former provocation.”

On Aug. 8, Assistant District Attorney Bryan Clayton submitted a written statement obtained from 36-year-old Michael Jones, who describes his relationship to the Salazars in a witness affidavit dated Aug. 6.

“I have been friends with Matthew Salazar for several years and only met Heather his wife about four years ago,” Jones writes. “I did spend some time hanging out with Matthew and Heather and a guy named Bradley was always at their house. Once I was at a BBQ at Matthew and Heather’s and I noticed that everyone was texting all the time, and to me it looked like Heather and Bradley were texting each other.

“One time around July 2013 I was at Matthew and Heather’s and Bradley was there. Bradley left and then me and Matthew left and Matthew went down the street and pulled over so he could watch his house. Matthew said the wanted to see if Bradley went back to his house or if Heather left the house to go to Bradley’s,” he stated.

Jones also writes that Salazar had mentioned he thought the two may be having an affair and that he hadn’t mentioned it to his wife since they were friends.

Clayton explained in the court document that the statement may be used to indicate motive and to rebut a possible sudden passion defense.

Salazar, Floyd, and several mutual friends of the Salazars are also anticipated to take the stand this week. The state will only be pursuing the capital murder charge against Salazar; the attempted capital murder charge will not be prosecuted.

Capital murder carries either a sentence of life without parole or death in the state of Texas. The state is not seeking death in the Salazar case. Should sudden passion be found in the punishment phase, the charge against Salazar will be dropped to a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years imprisonment and an optional $10k fine. 

Salazar has no prior criminal record in Tom Green County.

The Grape Creek Murder Trial, as it unfolded in the Tom Green County Courthouse in August 2014:

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