Murder suspect’s third trial begins

Medford, Ore. — A Medford man accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend in September of 2013, is on trial again. Following mistrials in June of 2014, and January of this year, Jose Valencia-Gaona’s case is before a jury for the third time.

On Wednesday, jurors heard from neighbors who witnessed the altercation, and the testimony left friends and family in the courtroom in tears. Jose Valencia-Gaona sat emotionless Wednesday, as prosecutors played the 911 call made by neighbors. According to police, 38-year-old Maria Rodriguez was stabbed outside of her Table Rock Road apartment on September 1st, 2013. Valencia-Gaona was arrested three days later, and charged with murder.

In court Wednesday, jurors heard from neighbors who lived in the complex, and recounted what they saw.

“She was on her stomach, and a man was on top of her with her knees in her back, and his fist was going like this into her side,” Ursula Brackett explained to the prosecution.

The defense claims many of those neighbors could not match the man they saw on the night of the murder, with a photo lineup in the days after, arguing the witnesses cannot say with certainty that the defendant is the one responsible for the crime. The trial will resume Thursday morning. The state plans to call additional witnesses Thursday, and the trial is expected to last two weeks.



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