Juan Nino-Estrada Trial Continues

*update* 8-18-2014

Both the prosecution and defense rested after another day of testimony at the Woodbury County Courthouse.The last day of testimony brought the Defendant himself to the stand."I swabbed a window sill in the bedroom area. There was also what appeared to be blood or spit out type blood on a landing of fire escape," said Steve Polak of the Sioux City Police Department.SCPD Evidence Technician Heather Holstein tested the 22 caliber revolver found outside, which did not have fingerprints that could be used for identification."They informed me where the weapon was located, I then did take some general exterior photographs, just showing where the weapon was in relation to the house," said Holstein.After a lunch break, jurors were shown a video with Nino-Estrada's interrogation conducted by SCPD Detective Mike Simons.Simons testified that he interviewed Nino-Estrada at the police station."I went home that evening and received a phone call from Mariah Thomas. Mariah indicated that there was a weapon that her sister found. And her sister threw it in the dumpster behind the residence," said Simons.After Simons' testimony, the Prosecution rested.The defense called Nino-Estrada to the stand, where he continually denied he shot anyone.

Prosecutor Terry Ganzel: "Because you wanted to intimidate him? And you pointed the gun at Luis Sanchez," said Prosecutor Terry Ganzel.Nino-Estrada "No I didn't".Prosecutor: "You waved it around the room."Nino-Estrada: "No I didn't."Prosecutor: "And everybody started screaming and told you to stop."After Nino-Estrada's testimony, the defense rested its own case shortly before 3:30 Monday afternoon.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*update* 8-15-2014 The seventh day in the Nino-Estrada trial came to a close a few hours ago. The trial began for the day with the prosecution calling additional officer from the Sioux City PD to the witness stand. Woodbury county attorney Terry Ganzel led the questioning. "He was being carted out on the gurney. He also had what appeared to be a knife sticking out of his back," said Detective Josiah Fencroy The prosecution then called SCPD's Zach Chwirka to the stand for a lengthy testimony. "Correct. I went through the scene and identified the different items of evidence that I knew I was going to collect, using lettered or numbered placards," said Chwirka. Public Defender Mike Williams grilled Chwirka during his cross-examination. He insinuated there was shoddy police work. "Williams: Does it appear that the knife could actually fit in the sheathe? Chwirka: It does." The trial concluded for the day at about 4:00 and is set to resume Monday morning at 9-am. It looks like the jury will get to deliberate for a verdict by some point next week. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*update* 8-14-2014The sixth day in the Nino-Estrada trial came to a close a few hours ago. The trial began for the day with the prosecution giving another chance to Erika Nino-Estrada. Her testimony was thrown out yesterday. Woodbury County Attorney Drew Bockenstedt led the questioning. Attorney: "What was Luis Sanchez doing when you entered the attic room?" Nino-Estrada: "Ummm... He was playing with his knife." District Judge Jeffrey Poulson decided to impeach her testimony & allowed the prosecution to use earlier statements given by Erika on the record. An employee of the courthouse spoke on Erika's behalf, "He goes downstairs and then goes back up." The prosecution then called members of the Sioux City Police Department to the stand. Sergeant Steve Ten Napel was tasked with trying to find Nino-Estrada after the shootings. Attorney: "Where did you first go to look for Mr. Nino and the GMC jimmy?" Cop: "We went to 32-24 Wynonna way, apartment 1." The trial concluded for the day at about 4:30 and is set to resume tomorrow morning at 9 am. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *update* 8-13-2014 The fifth day in the Nino Estrada trial came to a close a few hours ago. The day began with the prosecution calling on a state medical examiner. Woodbury county prosecutor Terry Ganzel called Dr. Dennis Klein, who examined the bodies from the shooting, to the stand. "The skull should be nice and smooth all the way around. You can see that there are these breaks in there and those are fractures of the skull," said Klein. Following the defense' cross-examination on Klien, the prosecution then called on criminalists Scott Stocksleger & Carl Bessman from the Iowa division of criminal investigation. Woodbury county attorney Drew Bockensted led the questioning about a bullet from the scene of the crime. Bockenstedt: "What were your results? Stocksleger: Juan Nino-Estrada, Michael Delgado and Yolanda Valdez were eliminated as the DNA source. The source was an unknown male DNA profile." But there were still some answers that didn't sit well with the defense. Williams cross-examined both witnesses, and got the most out of Bessman. Williams: "So, if it turns out that the arsenal gun had a spent casing in it, that was not ejected, would that be considered a form of jam?" Bessman: "Yes. If it failed to eject that would be a jam malfunction."After that, the prosecution called Mariah Thomas to the stand. Thomas is Nino-Estrada's girlfriend, and following her testimony to the state, Williams and the defense grilled her with a lengthy cross-examination. "He just kept saying I love you babe, I love you. I love you. At that point, we saw a bunch of cop cars surrounding the house," said Thomas. The trial concluded for the day at about 4-pm and is set to resume tomorrow morning at 9. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *update* 8-12-2014 The fourth day in the Nino-Estrada trial started the same way the third day ended. Public defender mike Williams continued his long and grueling cross-examination on witness Raymon Olague "Williams: Is it true that or not that you let in Yolanda and her boyfriend that night?" "Olague: I'm not sure. I don't remember." The prosecution then called Tavon Thomas to the stand. Woodbury county attorney Drew Bockensted led the questioning. "He said 'Let's go inside,' and I said 'I don't think it's a good idea', I kept telling him 'I don't think it's a good idea' and I asked him 'Can you take me back to Mariah's house?'" The defense then followed with its cross-examination on Thomas. Williams continued with his grueling style of step by step walk through about the shootings on November 7, 2013, and eventually Thomas gave in. "Williams: I'm asking, what did Luis do when Juan was inside the room again? What did Luis do?" Thomas: Stand-up on his knees and sit on his knees. Williams: And was he getting closer to Juan? Thomas: Yes." The trial concluded for the day around 4:30 pm and is set to resume tomorrow morning at 9am. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[update 8-11-2014] More witnesses were called to the stand in the Nino-Estrada trial earlier today, including Luis Sanchez. And a lot of what he said just didn't add up to his deposition given under oath. The third day of the trial started with the prosecution calling a Sioux City police officer from the night of the shootings to the witness stand. (The Defense) Williams: So you don't know anything about some marijuana that was also found in the vehicle? Moritz: Not particulars. Williams: Alright. Are you aware there was marijuana in the vehicle? Moritz: I believe that there was. I don't remember." The prosecution then called Luis Sanchez to the stand, and the defense drilled him with an almost 2-hour long cross-examination. "He starts, just started talking about his girl and started tripping out, like she'd be at my house, or something, I don't know why he'd think she'd be at my house, but that's what he thought," said Sanchez. The final witness called to the stand for the day was Raymon Olague. Olague's story differed from other testimonies. He claimed that Nino-Estrada was the only one smoking methamphetamine and did not pass it around. His story contained several other discrepancies from his deposition given under oath. "I remember but no. The .45, that would get hid under the porchthe deck," said Olague. "I was the only one small enough to crawl under there so I would crawl under the deck." The trial concluded for the day at about 4:30 pm.*update* 8-11-2014----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 2 of the Nino-Estrada trial is in the books, and it started with an uncommon court room procedure called 'juror viewing'. Members of jury visited the home at 507 West 27th street to get a sense for the strange room the shooting occurred. They were accompanied by district Judge Jeffrey Poulson, a court attendant and Woodbury county sheriff's officers. Members of the media and lawyers were not permitted to attend and jurors were not allowed to speak. "The jury was escorted from the front porch through the living area, upstairs and then downstairs to the basement and exited through the east-or side-door," said Judge Poulson. The prosecution team, led by Terry Ganzel, called key witness Tony Kruger to the stand. He was at the house and claims to have witnessed at least one of the shootings. Due to the courtroom recording laws in Iowa, we were not allowed to show Kruger's face. The defense followed with its cross-examination. Kruger was pressed hard as his timeline of events just didn't add up to his deposition signed for immunity. "I see the gun still going and flying in his hands. So, I grabbed the knife and tried stabbing Estrada so he'd drop the gun," said witness Tony Kruger. After another long day and incomplete cross examination, the court adjourned for the weekend a little after 4:30 pm. "The trial's set to resume on Monday at 9 am. Make sure you tune into Siouxland News at 5, 9 and 10 all next week for the latest. *update*----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Juan Nino-Estrada is charged with 2 counts of 1st degree murder, 1 count attempted murder and 1 count willful injury.Earlier today, the prosecution began making its case to the jurors.The team of Woodbury County attorneys Terry Ganzel and Drew Bockenstedt painted a picture of drugs and gang related signs, a customer unhappy with the product."A minute before he uttered those words, Yolanda Valdez lay cowering in fear in the corner of the attic room of that residence," said Prosecutor Terry Ganzel.But the defense, comprised of public defenders Mike Williams & Sharese Manker, made their case, too. They said Estrada was guilty of using drugs, carrying a 9 mm pistol and lying to police... but not murder."Unfortunately, there's a lot of tragedy that happened just before midnight on that night," said the Defense, Mike Williams.The first round of witnesses were called to the stand and testified about the events on the evening of November 7, 2013."I overheard com center dispatch other calls to cars for shots fired at that location," said Sioux City PD Officer Bryan Noll. "I then advised com center that I would be in route up there, also."District Judge Jeffrey Poulson is presiding over the trial, which resumes tomorrow morning and is expected to last up to two weeks.Now, it was pretty easy to see the strategy of both the prosecution and defense in this trial. It should be pretty interesting to see how it all plays out over the next few days.