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Trial underway for Brownwood man accused of murdering man in 2014

Jury selection is underway

BROWNWOOD, Texas - A jury was selected Monday paving the way for the murder case of a Brownwood man to proceed as he stands accused of a 2014 killing.

Opening statements will begin Tuesday morning inside the 35th Judicial District Court as Michael John Zarate, 34, goes on trial for murder and tampering/fabricating with evidence.

Throughout the morning and afternoon Monday the prosecution and defense narrowed the down the jury pool to 12 jurors and one alternate.

Zarate is accused of shooting 34-year-old Ernesto Gonzales, Jr. to death on Nov. 2, 2014, in an alley on 1300 block of Brady Avenue, according to police.

Witnesses reported at the time a verbal argument began between the two men near Gonzales's home and that they then saw Zarate follow him into an alley before shots were fired.

A dismantled gun was found near the Vine Street underpass shortly after the alleged killing, police said.

District Attorney Micheal Murray and assistant attorney Elisha Bird will be trying this case on behalf of the state. Tommy Adams is the court-appointed attorney representing Zarate.

Murray told District Judge Steve Ellis he expects the trial to go until the end of the week.

Zarate acknowledged that he doesn't have any witnesses testifying on his behalf and he said the only person who knows him well is his mother, who lives in Brown County.

Zarate could face up to life in prison if the jury finds him guilty.

Opening statements begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Brown County Courthouse.


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