Stabbing case goes to jury
The trial of Miguel Angel Garcia, accused of a Halloween party killing, was turned over to the Yuma County Superior Court Friday afternoon.
The jury heard testimony for four days in the death of Jimmy Manuel Barroteran, who was 24 years old when he was stabbed to death Oct. 28, 2001, during a Halloween party at a home at 893 Almond Avenue. Garcia, a 21-year-old Yuman, is charged with second-degree murder but the jury also has the options of convicting him of manslaughter, negligent homicide, aggravated assault or endangerment, or finding him innocent of any crime.
In his closing arguments Friday, James Coil, the prosecutor, said the only witness who wasn't drunk at the party identified Garcia as the person who provoked Barroteran and then attacked him at about 2:30 a.m. Although nobody saw the fatal stabbing, Coil argued Garcia's clothing had Barroteran's blood on his shirt, pants and top of his shoes.
But Ella Johnson, who is defending Garcia, argued her client wasn't the only one who had blood on his clothing nor was he the only one who was fighting with Barroteran. "What you don't have is an eyewitness (to the actual stabbing)," Johnson told the jury.
Coil countered, arguing that Garcia didn't have blood on the bottom of his shoes - which he said indicated Garcia stabbed Barroteran and then left the scene before blood, from a hole in the man's heart, poured out on the kitchen floor of the home where the party was being held.
Evidence in the case showed a large amount of blood in the kitchen as well as the hallway and bedroom where Barroteran was taken when his friends tried to help him. Barroteran was taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Loren Listiak can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857.