After only 15 minutes, a jury of seven men and five women in the 266th Judicial District Court found Trista Delacruz guilty of delivery of a controlled substance. They took more than two hours to sentence her to seven years in the state penitentiary.
The initial charge stemmed from an incident on March 12, 2008, when two undercover police officers bought two “eight balls” of methamphetamine at Delacruz’s home on Pearl Street.
Investigator Cody Lee testified Monday that Delacruz was at home with her husband John and four children the afternoon the deal was set up through Jose “Joe” Delacruz, a confidential informant and John’s brother.
Joe was set up with two undercover narcotics officers from Parker County.
Kim Cooper, one of the undercover police officers, testified Monday that a Marlboro box was on the ground outside the home where the children were playing. John indicated to her that’s where the “stuff” was and to give the money to his wife Trista. Cooper stated that Trista allowed them inside the home to weigh the drugs.
Tuesday, Cooper’s partner Cora Gray testified. She said that Trista was aware of what was going on and even accompanied the pair into the house where they could weigh the methamphetamine. Once the weight was checked, Gray paid Trista $500 for the drugs.
“She told me ‘thank you,’” Gray said.
Gray said once the money was paid, they moved back outside where she and her partner talked to John and Joe about possibly buying more the next day. Gray testified that Trista was also standing there with the group, aware of what was being discussed.
The two undercover officers wore a “body bug” during the transaction. The bug recorded the conversation, providing an audio record of the deal. District Attorney Jason Cashon played the recording in court Tuesday.
The first thing jurors heard was the sound of children playing in the background, then Gray telling them “bye” as she, Cooper and Joe leave Trista’s house to head to a gas station on Graham Street - which, according to Gray, was to be the site of the drug deal.
In the recording, Gray’s phone rings and John asks to speak to his brother Joe. Joe then tells the two undercover police officers that the site was moved back to Trista and John’s home.
Gray alerts her surveillance team that the location has been moved again and the team is instructed to keep back.
The recording picks up the voices of Trista’s four children playing in the yard as she and Cooper are directed by John to a cigarette pack lying on the ground.
The officers ask if they can go inside to weigh the meth.
Although parts of the audio are difficult to hear, Gray testified that John told them to “pay her,” and pointed at Trista.
Jurors then heard the officers go in the house, weigh the drugs and count out $500 in cash.
Trista’s attorney Blake Thompson asked Gray about her expertise in domestic abuse. Trista had stated in an earlier police interview that John sometimes hit her.
Gray agreed that domestic violence victims sometimes have a hard time leaving or reporting their assailants.
Cashon later asked Gray if she recognized John sitting outside the courtroom earlier that morning, to which Gray responded that she did.
In closing arguments, Thompson reminded the jury that Trista told police during the first taped interview that John had abused her. He said Trista was afraid of her husband and feared for herself and her children.
Cashon pointed John out in the courtroom.
“If he’s so bad, why is she still with him?” Cashon asked the jury.
John is facing his own charges from the recorded drug deal and is set to return to the courtroom next month as a defendant.