Attorneys called several police officers and two Alamo Rent a Car employees Tuesday morning to testify in the trial of a 35-year-old St. Louis man accused in the 2015 shooting and killing of Oscar C. Carbajal after he spilled some beer in a Sauget gas station.
Jurors listened Monday to six witnesses who saw the shooting, including two of Carbajal’s friends.
On Tuesday, several other witnesses were called to the stand.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Illinois State Police Detective Chris Coyne confirmed in court that Fernando Vargas-Rentana, one of Carbajal’s friends, identified Garrett in a photo lineup during the initial investigation as the man he saw shoot Carbajal. Another friend, Fernando de la Torre, said in court Monday he could not identify the suspect.
Alamo employees Jimmy Williams and La’Quandra Burnett described the process customers go through to exchange a rental car. They also discussed their interactions with Garret, who prosecutors say exchanged his rental Ford Fusion for a Chrysler 200 shortly after the killing at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
“He was in a hurry,” Burnett said of Garrett. “He was just trying to hurry up and find his stuff.”
Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Michael Lewis took the stand and displayed for the jury several pieces of evidence he logged when processing the rented Chrysler after Garrett’s arrest. Included in that list were a white shirt, black shorts and Jordan shoes — which matched the description witnesses gave of the suspect.
The prosecution questioned witnesses on scientific elements of the evidence Tuesday afternoon, and attorneys were slated to give their closing arguments Wednesday morning.
On Monday, witnesses to the shooting said Carbajal had been out at a neighboring club with two friends before they drove over to the gas station. There, one of Carbajal’s friends bought a 12-pack of beer from the walk-up window.
A cashier who was working at the gas station said she sold the beer to one of Carbajal’s friends, Fernando de la Torre. De la Torre said a black man came up to him and asked him for one of his beers and he told the man “not a problem.”
Carbajal then got out of the car and came up to de la Torre, thinking the man was “trying to start something,” according to Vargas-Rentana.
Carbajal called the suspect a racial slur and said black people “want everything for free” and urged his friend not to hand over a beer, Vargas-Rentana said.
At one point, de la Torre dropped the case of beer as he was trying to hand it to Carbajal, breaking some of the bottles and splashing beer onto the suspect’s shoes, Vargas-Rentana said. A witness told police the suspect replied, “You gonna buy me new shoes?”
Video footage showed the suspect returning to his vehicle, which was parked at a gas pump, getting in the car, placing the pump in the gas tank and then walking back to the men, who were buying a replacement case of beer.
The footage shows the suspect removing a handgun from under his shirt and shooting Carbajal. The suspect then went back to his car, a blue 2015 Ford Fusion, and drove away.
BND reporter Kelsey Landis contributed to this report.