Former BP agent accused of killing mother and child appears in court

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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - The former Border Patrol Agent accused of killing a woman and her child is back in court.

Ronald Anthony Burgos Aviles arrives for hearing

The family of Griselda Hernandez looked on as Ronald Burgos Aviles walked into the 49th District Court on Tuesday morning.

Aviles is represented by Eduardo Peña and his new attorney from Austin, William Boggs.

Laredo attorney Silverio Martinez was appointed by Burgos since the beginning but was removed last month.

The Webb County District Attorney, Isidro Alaniz, confirmed Eduardo Peña had requested for Martinez’s removal, not Burgos. Alaniz would not elaborate on why the removal happened.

The hearing was scheduled to go over motions.

Some of the motions include the defense asking the judge to allow them to individually interview potential jurors.

The judge denied the motion because this could take up between two to three days of just interviews prolonging the trial.

Another motion discussed was limiting how many people will take the stand for the impact testimony. Assuming Burgos is found guilty, testimony statements are allowed before the punishment phase. The judge allowed for a limit of who will take the stand but what that limit is was not agreed at the moment.

Another motion is the judge will instruct the jurors of the laws but he will not question them individually.

A motion that was denied by the judge was the request of the defense to allow Burgos’ families and friends to take the stand and talk about how the death sentence could affect them. The judge says having Burgos’ family and friends speak will only confuse jurors.

The judge agreed to sequester jurors at need be and not throughout the entire trial. For example, if he believes a juror has been on their phones, on social media or seen TV, he will question them but not every day like the defense is asking the judge to do.

A motion was approved where jurors will have 10 days to decide on a verdict and five days for sentencing.

Burgos defense is wanting Burgos to not have any handcuffs or restraints on him during the trial. The judge agreed on no handcuffs, but waist-and-ankle restraints to be decided closer to the trial.

The defense argued that the death sentence, more specifically the method of execution is considered as "cruel and unusual punishment" and should be out as an option. The judge denied that motion.

The defense argued that the jurors, not the state, should recommend the death sentence because he's not a threat to society. That motion was denied.

Burgos was taken into chambers to talk to the judge on the ex parte.

More than 30 motions were discussed in the hearing.