Defense rests case in Texas shoe stabbing trial
HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for a Houston woman accused of fatally stabbing her boyfriend with her 5 ½-inch stiletto heel used a martial arts expert Monday to demonstrate for jurors how they believe she was attacked on the night of the killing.
Ana Trujillo is accused of striking 59-year-old Alf Stefan Andersson at least 25 times in the face with her shoe during an argument in June at his Houston condominium. Trujillo's attorney, Jack Carroll, has contended the 45-year-old woman was defending herself from an attack by Andersson.
The defense rested Monday afternoon, and prosecutors are expected to call three rebuttal witnesses Tuesday before closing arguments and turning the case over to jurors.
Before resting his case, Carroll presented a demonstration in which martial arts expert Chris Martinez and another man, standing in for Trujillo, rolled on the ground and struggled with one another. The two rolled around on the floor as jurors got up from their seats to get a better view.
During the demonstration, the other man tried to pull away from Martinez, who then pulled him by his ankles back to him, as Trujillo has claimed Andersson did to her. Martinez ended up on top of the other man, locking his arms around the man's leg. The other man then got on top of Martinez and grabbed one of the high heel shoes Trujillo wore and pretended to stab Martinez.
"Would it be reasonable for him to strike you if you weren't letting go?" Carroll asked Martinez, who in the demonstration was supposed to be Andersson.
"Yes," replied Martinez, who owns a mixed martial arts studio in Houston.
Prosecutor John Jordan tried to suggest to jurors that the demonstration was probably not an accurate depiction of what might have happened because, unlike Andersson, Martinez is a black belt with years of experience. Andersson was "a 59-year-old man who drank too much and was not in the greatest physical health," Jordan said.
The martial arts expert also told jurors that while he used a complicated leg hold in his demonstration, Trujillo has never indicated to police that Andersson used such a hold on her.
On Monday, Carroll also presented medical records detailing what he believes are injuries Trujillo suffered during the alleged attack, including bruising to her legs and arms. But Jordan suggested to jurors Trujillo sustained those injuries two weeks before Andersson's death during a fight with an ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend.
The last defense witness, pathologist Dr. Lee Ann Grossberg, was critical of first responders for not performing CPR on Andersson. Carroll has suggested Andersson was still alive when Trujillo made a 911 call and medical help took too long to arrive, contributing to Andersson's death.
Grossberg said Andersson's various injuries were "potentially survivable."
An assistant medical examiner testified last week the cause of death was "blunt-force head and facial trauma."
Firefighters who responded to the scene have previously testified Andersson had already been declared dead when they arrived.
If convicted, Trujillo faces up to life in prison.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/juanlozano70.