Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Murder trial continues

Testimony continues today.

Jury hears testimony in 2008 stabbing

- The Herald-Zeitung

A New Braunfels man stands trial this week for the alleged March 2008 murder of his brother-in-law.

Edwardo Sanchez, 26, pleaded not guiltyto the murder of Fernando Ortegon, 37. Authorities allege Sanchez stabbed and killed Ortegon in the early morning hours of a summer day in 2008.

Sanchez faces from five to 99 years in prison if convicted. The trial is being heard by 207th District Judge Jack Robison.

Officers responding to an aggravated assault call about 1 a.m. on March 23, 2008, found Ortegon lying dead in the street. His blood trailed the 1100 block of Winston Avenue in the Walnut Mobile Home Community off Interstate 35 frontage road near Walnut Street, police reported.

Witnesses at the scene told police that Sanchez stabbed Ortegon in the midst of an argument.

Police said Ortegon believed Sanchez had taken cash and credit cards from a mutual friend’s house where they were having drinks that night. Ortegon trailed Sanchez to Winston Avenue.

Witnesses told police that when Ortegon confronted Sanchez, the defendant pulled a knife from his pocket, stabbed Ortegon and fled through the Walnut Mobile Home Community. He reportedly hid underneath a mobile home.

New Braunfels Police Department Det. Jesse Villareal told a Comal County jury of nine men and four women Tuesday that he found a bloody black-handled switchblade Gerber knife in that same crawl space when he investigated the scene on March 24, 2008.

That knife was presented in court Tuesday to Travis County Chief Medical Examination Officer David Dolinak, who performed Ortegon’s autopsy. Dolinak said the knife was consistent with the size of the two stab wounds on Ortegon’s body.

“He died as a result of stab wounds...” Dolinak said. “...It was a homicide ... because these injuries were not self-inflicted ... considering all the information in its totality.”

He said Ortegon suffered two stab wounds — one in the chest and one in the back. The chest wound went through to his heart, cutting his main pulmonary artery and the left ventricle of his heart. Dolinak said Ortegon would have bled to death in about five to 10 minutes.

Defense Attorney Joseph Garcia III asked Dolinak if the injuries could have been during a fight or struggle where Sanchez was being forced to defend himself.

Dolinak said yes. He also pointed out that Ortegon had no defensive stab wounds on his hands or arms.

Kimberly Clement, a forensic scientist from Austin who analyzed genetic samples from the crime scene, said the blood on the knife was a mixture.

“The profile of the knife was consistent with the victim and the suspect,” Clement said.

Tuesday was the second day of testimony.

Trial is set to continue today at 9 a.m.