Sat, Nov 09 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam
Following an all-day preliminary hearing Tuesday, a judge ordered an Eastlake man to stand trial for allegedly killing his younger brother with a samurai sword and a barbecue fork on April 2 in the family’s condominium.
Two police officers testified they saw Alberto Gonzalez Figueroa, Jr., 35, with blood on his face, leg, shoe and sock about an hour after his brother, Mario Gonzalez Figueroa, 23, was killed in the condo in the 2700 block of Lakeridge Circle in Chula Vista.
His attorney submitted the fratricide case without argument to Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Ana Espana who ordered Figueroa to stand trial for murder. A trial date will be set on Nov. 20. He remains in jail without bail and has pleaded not guilty.
Figueroa was also ordered to stand trial for assault upon an inmate with a homemade shank and possession of a weapon in jail following the July 10 attack in the South Bay Detention Facility.
A key witness was Minerva Figueroa, the mother of both the victim and the defendant. She testified that she let Alberto Figueroa live at home when he became homeless because “he had no place to go.”
“Mario did not want him to drink alcohol in the house. When he would drink, Alberto would get nasty and call me names,” said Minerva Figueroa.
She said the brothers were fist fighting in December 2012, in an argument over dishes in which police were called.
She noticed he and his brother never spoke to each other after he was arrested Jan. 18 when he came home drunk.
“Mario thought Alberto was disrespecting the house because he came home drunk. He was knocking everything over,” said Minerva Figueroa about the Jan. 18 incident. “He was destroying the house. He was so drunk he couldn’t stand up.”
The incident caused Alberto Figueroa to take anger management classes while on probation, but there was no reconciliation between the brothers after that, said their mother.
“After the anger management class, he goes and murders his brother. What kind of anger management class is that?” she said.
Alberto Figueroa, dressed in a green jail uniform with a shaved head, stared at his mother repeatedly, but she did not look at him. He wore a security chain around his waist and was handcuffed.
She was at work when her younger son was killed. Her father, Leon Gonzalez, testified he heard the screams of Mario on April 2. “Grandpa, help me!” he said he heard. Gonzalez said he saw Alberto had his knee on Mario and was jabbing his hands back and forth, but didn’t see a weapon.
“He was hurting Mario,” said Gonzalez, adding that he grabbed a cell phone to call 911, but Alberto grabbed it out of his hands.
Chula Vista Police officer Xanpihe Rosario testified she responded to a neighbor’s 911 call at 7:18 a.m. and found the victim “completely covered in blood” in a bedroom and dead.
National City Police Sgt. Julian Villagomez testified he saw Alberto on a red bicycle on Sweetwater Road; he had the same description as the killer and Villagomez arrested him at gunpoint without resistance.
“He had blood on his hands,” he said.
Chula Vista detective Brandi Winslow testified the samurai sword and barbecue fork were found in some bedding on the floor after the body was taken to the morgue. She said she found bloody clothing Alberto left behind at the condo.
Dr. Glenn Wagner, chief medical examiner for the county, testified he viewed the body at the scene. He said there were 16 stab wounds to the chest, back and abdomen, and 10 wounds to his head, hand and arms.
Wagner told Espana the sword’s tip was broken and the tines of the barbecue fork were bent when it struck bones in the spine. Wagner used prosecutor Ryan Karkenny in a live demonstration as to how back injuries occurred to the victim.
Sheriff’s deputy Mario Castro testified another inmate was stabbed at 3:19 p.m. on July 10 in jail and he saw Figueroa “holding a shank in his hand.” Castro said deputies fired a pepper ball weapon at Figueroa which struck him six times and he surrendered.
Sheriff’s detective Aaron Brown testified he reviewed video surveillance of the attack. Brown said Figueroa admitted to stabbing the inmate and “he told me how he made the weapon.”
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