Nelson Enrique Manzanares, 47, appeared before Judge John Stevens at the Criminal District Court on Tuesday July 18, 2023 for opening statements.
In the opening statements, prosecutor Sonny Eckhart told the jury that the evidence will be quick, and he will only call two witnesses. They are Manzanares’ ex-wife and an officer who arrived on the scene.
Eckhart said that Manzanares and his wife were going through a separation, but still living together. He said this was because she did not want to leave him with no place to stay.
One night when the victim returned from work, she heard her kids calling outside where the defendant arrived with a Mariachi band as part of an effort to reconcile with her, according to Eckhart.
But after the band left, Eckhart said Manzanares began to accuse her of not working and made threats saying she will pay for the separation.
Eckhart said that Manzanares then followed her inside the house and continued the argument. He said during the argument, Manzanares told their kids that this was their mother’s last day to live before going to the kitchen to get a knife.
Eckhart told the jury that aggravated assault includes threat of bodily injury. He said that they will hear that the victim tried to call 911 and they will hear that call played in court. He told them it will not be something that is pleasant to listen to.
The victim’s children surrounded her to protect her as she called the police according to the probable cause affidavit.
Eckhart said that Manzanares stopped only when he realized she was on the phone with the police.
Defense attorney Jared Gilthorpe spoke briefly during his opening statements. He said the prosecution’s evidence is only the word of the victim.
Gilthorpe said evidence will show that the police never asked Manzanares to explain his version of the events.
If convicted, Manzanares faces 2-20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Probation is also an option.
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Call 833-TIPS (8477). This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.