State: Lawyers for suspect in woman, granddaughter’s drug murders on ‘fishing expedition’

Israel Gonzalez Palomino

Lawyers for Israel Gonzalez Palomino filed a subpoena telling the Madison County Jail to turn over all records related to him

Posted: May 28, 2019 1:51 PM

The state of Alabama is asking a judge to stop a man accused of murdering a Madison County woman and her granddaughter from going on a “fishing expedition” for documents.

On May 20, lawyers for Israel Gonzalez Palomino filed a subpoena telling the Madison County Jail to turn over all records related to Palomino since his incarceration in June 2018.

In a May 22 response on behalf of Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner, the state asks a judge to dismiss the subpoena. It says the subpoena is an effort to conduct discovery in a criminal case. It says the subpoena is “an effort to engage in a fishing expedition of precisely the type that Alabama Courts have repeatedly rejected.”

Palomino and Yoni Aguilar are charged with the murders of Oralia Mendoza, 49, and her granddaughter, Mariah Lopez, 13. Both remains were found in Owens Cross Roads. Lopez's remains were found June 7 on Lemley Drive. Mendoza's remains were found about a week later in Moon Cemetery, not far from where Lopez was found.

investigators said Aguilar, Palomino, Mendoza and a fourth woman traveled to Norcross, Ga., to pick up a quarter of a kilogram of methamphetamine and bring it back to Huntsville. Investigators said they believe Mendoza and the woman were members of the Mexico-based Sinaloa cartel and were moving the drugs for the criminal organization.

Sometime after returning from the Georgia drug run, investigators said Palomino discovered Mendoza had removed the SIM card from her phone. He also found a text message sent to an unknown woman during the Georgia drug run, investigators said. In that text, Mendoza asked the woman to pick up her granddaughter from Palomino's wife because she was afraid for their lives, they said.

Palomino and Aguilar woke Mendoza and Lopez up during the night and told them they were going somewhere safe, investigators said. When they reached Moon Cemetery in Owens Cross Roads, Mendoza and Palomino got out of the car and began arguing, according to testimony. Palomino then stabbed Mendoza and they left her body there, investigators said.

Investigators testified that Aguilar told them he and Palomino got Lopez out of the car on Lemley Drive, and Palomino showed him how to decapitate Lopez. They killed her and left her body there and then went to clean the car, authorities said.

Investigators said they found two knives they believe were used in the murders. One was under Palomino's mattress, they said; the other was under Aguilar's.

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