News

Detective's testimony contradicts witness account in Day 11 of La Mesa Street Murders trial

Day 11 of La Mesa Street Murders trial

YUMA, Ariz. - The credibility of a key witness is under fire in Day 11 of the La Mesa Street Murders Trial.

Retired Detective Jeff Ruby, Yuma Police Department, continued on the stand on Monday contradicting the key witness' account of the interview process.

Ruby testified that the witness was interviewed on two occasions shortly after the murders.

The first interview took place on the night of the murders on June 24, 2005.

The second interview happened about two weeks later in early July, according to Ruby.

Ruby said that on both occasions a composite drawing of the suspect was created based on the witness' information.

During the second interview, the witness, whose name is being withheld per court order, says officers showed him a picture lineup of potential suspects. The witness said he looked through pictures of about 20 potential suspects in a binder but wasn't able to point anyone out.

However, on Monday, detective Ruby said that he didn't recall ever showing the witness a picture lineup.

"I don't remember showing any photo lineups to this witness," Ruby said, "In 20 years I never had a lineup of pictures or a binder."

"In July, I don't believe there was a possible suspect," Ruby added.

The witness was on the stand on Day 6 of the trial, on February 24.

Their credibility was also questioned on February 24th when he admitted to lying about the suspect's description for over 10 years.

The witness said he lied about the suspect being a Hispanic man.

On February 24th while on the stand, the witness said Preston Strong, a black man, was the real suspect he had seen in the backyard of the home on the night of the murders.

Moreover, Ruby was also questioned by the defense.

Defense Attorney Ray Hanna further questioned Ruby about the family's missing Dodge Durango and footprints found in a nearby alley.

According to police, Luis Rios had driven the Durango home on the night of the murders. However, the vehicle disappeared by the time police arrived on scene around 8:30 p.m. that same night.

According to police, the suspect used the vehicle as a getaway car.

The Durango was found early the next morning near the 600 block of West 21 Street.

Police say the footprints were found in an alley just south of the Durango. They say the footprints led them to a kitchen knife about halfway down the alley.

"How far would you say the footprints were from the knife?" Hanna asked Ruby.

"There were shoe prints right up to the knife," Ruby explained, "I remember the shoe prints throughout the whole alley."

"Were there footprints near the Durango?," Hanna further questioned.

"No, the Durango was parked on the asphalt so there were no visible footprints near it," Ruby answered.

"Then, how can you be sure the footprints in the alley came from the Durango?," Hanna asked.

"I believe the footprints were consistent with the person or persons coming from the Durango," Ruby replied, "I observed and tracked footprints that appeared to be coming from the Durango."

Ruby also testified about the autopsies of 35-year-old Luis Rios and 9-year-old Inez Newman.

According to Ruby, Inez had ligature markings on her wrists and hands.

"There was bleeding on the areas on the side of her neck, showing some type of trauma or pressure," Ruby explained, "consistent with strangling."

According to Ruby, Rios was shot three times and had seven visible bullet injuries.

He was shot once on the upper forehead and had an exit wound on the rear portion of his head.

He was also shot on the left chest area and had an exit wound on his lower back.

Thirdly, another bullet went in through his outer left arm and entered his lower back, near the exit location of the previous bullet.

Rios also had several bruises and injuries throughout his body.

"He had bruising on his face area, front of chest, back and on one knee," Ruby explained.

Some of the injuries appear to have been scrapes and a bruise near his chest area where paramedics may have performed CPR. 

Two FBI agents who helped collect fingerprints and DNA trace evidence also testified on Monday.

Retired Yuma Police Department Detective Bill Martin, Sr. was the last witness to take the stand. 


comments powered by Disqus