Day 18 - ‘Money is a big motive for a murder' witness says in the La Mesa Murder Trial

La Mesa Murder Day 18

Yuma, AZ - Thursday was day 18 of the La Mesa Murders trial case with one witness testifying on the stand, a former sergeant for the Yuma Police Department.

Former Yuma Police Department Sergeant Juan Rodriguez says he has 27 years of experience.

Early on in the investigation back in 2005 Rodriguez says that according to witnesses the day prior to the murders Preston Strong asked Luis Rios for money but was denied. Rodriguez says that in their investigation they found that Rios was lending Strong money in large sums.

The witness reveals that Strong’s bank records at the time showed a negative balance and bounced checks. Rodriguez testified that he found that concerning because of his image. He then says, “The people that Preston was associating with assumed he had money.”

The prosecution then focused on the defendants alibi. Rodriguez testified that Strong did not have a solid alibi. According to the detective, Strong claimed he was at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill; Algodones, Mexico, and at home on June 24, 2005. That's the day of the murder. Rodriguez said that he was not able to find someone to tell him where Strong was in each time frame or find documentation showing that he had crossed to Algodones.

Preston Strong’s defense attorney had the chance to question Rodriguez on whether border crossings were documented in 2005. Rodriguez responded that not every crossing was documented at the time. Friday Strong’s defense attorney will continue the cross examination.

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