Murder trial to begin in Caldwell

jsowell@idahostatesman.comJuly 9, 2013 

A Canyon County man accused of murdering a man he believed was a police informant will go on trial Wednesday morning in Caldwell, following jury selection Tuesday.

Gregory R. Higgins Jr. is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and two counts of use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony in the shooting death of 27-year-old James Groat.

Groat's body was found late last August near Lake Lowell in Nampa. Police say he was lured to a remote location to serve as a lookout for a purported drug deal. Instead, he was allegedly confronted by Higgins and accused of being a police informant.

Groat, whom authorities said was not an informant, was shot five times.

Two roommates of Groat were also arrested in the case.

Christopher Duran was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. He is scheduled to go to trial on July 24.

Cruz Flores was charged with being an accessory to murder. A judge later sealed Flores' file and no information is available on his case. No indication was given on why the file was sealed.

MURDER SUSPECT TO ENTER PLEA

In Ada County on Friday, Thomas Lee Herman, who is accused of beating 46-year-old Mamokete Folkes to death in a Boise hotel room in March, is scheduled to enter a plea to first-degree murder.

Herman called 911 on March 5 to say he had possibly killed a person, according to police. Folkes' naked body was then found on the floor of a room at the Cabana Inn. The body was covered in bruises and shoe prints, indicating she had been stomped, and blood was found on the carpet and walls.

CASES JOINED FOR SUSPECTS IN ATTACK

The man accused of an assault in the Boise Towne Square mall parking lot and two relatives suspected of helping him hide from police will all appear at a court arraignment July 17.

Charged with four felonies, Gregory Macho allegedly sexually assaulted one woman May 14, then ran over a second woman who came to her aid.

His wife, Jessica Brynn Macho, and brother, Richard Scott Macho, are each charged with felony destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.

Their Ada County cases were all merged July 3; before then, Gregory Macho's next hearing had been scheduled for this week.

John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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