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BOISE -- The Idaho Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of first-degree murder in a 2006 gang-related shooting in a small bar in southwestern Idaho.

In a 3-2 decision issued Monday, the court vacated the conviction of Hector Almaraz Jr., who was found guilty by a jury in the shooting death of Gabriel Flores at a crowded Fruitland bar.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roger Burdick concluded the district judge abused his discretion during the trial by failing to suppress witness testimony that identified Almaraz as the shooter. The justices also ruled the lower court erred in limiting testimony of an expert witness.

But justices Warren Jones and Jim Jones dissented, arguing the trial errors would not have changed the jury's verdict in the case.

Club Seven, Fruitland


Fruitland police originally told KTVB a video surveillance tape helped them arrest Almaraz Jr., also known as 'Puppet' back in April of 2006..

Officers also say the surveillance video showed that Flores was attacked by a number of Hispanic men at Club Seven, just before the shooting.

Almaraz Jr. was arrested on April 25, 2006, after a short foot pursuit by Caldwell police officers.

Another man, Armando Landin, was originally charged with second-degree murder in the case, but those charges were dropped to aggravated assault. Police say Landin was involved in the bar fight before the deadly shooting.

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