(Neb)-Trial Begins In New Year's Eve Stabbing Death
GERING - The 1st-degree murder trial of 65-year-old Lucio Munoz of Scottsbluff, charged with the stabbing death early last New Year's Eve of his girlfriend in his apartment, got under Monday in Scotts Bluff County District Court.
In opening arguments, County Attorney Dave Eubanks told the jury that Munoz believed 46-year old Melissa May was cheating on him and that in anger he stabbed her 35 times and slit her throat.
Eubanks said police were called to the apartment twice the night May is believed to have been killed, with Munoz telling officers during the first about 11:30 that May had been sexually assaulted, which the intoxicated May denied.
When officers returned 4 hours later, they saw only Munoz, who said May had gone back to her own apartment even though her coat was still there on a snowy night. He then went to the emergency room before quickly leaving town without taking clothes, toiletries, or medication.
Before leaving with police, Munoz locked the locking the apartment, which Eubanks described as having "left Melissa May's body to rot.
Public Defender Bernie Straetker pointed out in his opening statement that the evidence against Munoz is circumstantial with no witnesses to the murder, no weapon ever recovered, and no bloody clothing ever found.
May's body was found by the landlord in Munoz's apartment 4 days later after being contacted by friends of the couple concerned that the pair hadn't been seen for several days.
Munoz had already fled Nebraska by the the time the body was found, but was arrested the following day at a relative's home in a Chicago suburb.
The first witnesses to testify were the police officers who'd gone to the apartment that night. They expanded the narrative of Eubanks' opening arguments, with body camera video from the officers entered into evidence.
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