(Neb)-Eyewitness Testifies To "Body In a Barrel" Murder
BRIDGEPORT - The Panhandle's "body in a barrel" murder trial could to go to the jury today with both sides indicating only a few witnesses remain before closing arguments.
25 year old Zachary Mueller of rural Bridgeport is charged with 1st-degree murder in the Nov 2015 death of 33-year old Pedro Dominguez of Greeley, Colorado, whose body was found stuffed into a barrel floating in a creek east of Bayard about 2 weeks later.
Yesterday's highlight was the testimony of the key prosecution witness, Felicia Talley - who was Dominguez's girlfriend and the mother of Mueller's 6-year old daughter. Talley, who has been in custody since the summer as a material witness, said she was driving both men in a VW bug with Dominguez sitting next to her when Mueller shot him in the back of the head from the back seat.
Talley said Mueller then asked why he shouldn't kill her too, to which she replied "we have a child together. She recounted going with Mueller to Cheyenne, describing him as acting paranoid and irrational...giving her the gun he used to shoot Dominguez and telling her to kill him too. Talley said she ran away and later sold the gun in Greeley for money and drugs.
Defense attorney Sarah Newell repeatedly tried to paint Talley as the actual killer, in part because of her Facebook postings after Dominguez was killed. In them, she asked friends to pray for forgiveness and wrote that "he closed this situation not me." Asked directly by prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General Warner on redirect whether she shot Dominguez, Talley emphatically said she did not.
Asked why she avoided law enforcement for months after the discovery of the body, Talley explained that when she was 12, she had to testify in court in a murder against her mother, who was convicted and is serving a life term. Talley said she suffered a lot of backlash from her mother's family and she didn't want to go through the experience of being "a snitch again" against Mueller.
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