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Posted: Feb 7 2008, 01:44 PM
Member No.: 3
Joined: 2-May 07
Jurors hear brutal tale of how woman was kidnapped, set on fire
“She dissed me, so I wanted to make her scream,” confesses Mexican Alien Jesus Rafael Muro-Monge
A J Flick
Jesus Rafael Muro-Monge
Jurors heard the brutal details about the kidnapping and stabbing of a Tucson woman who was set on fire while she was still alive, a story that has shaken even hardened courtroom observers.
Jesus Rafael Muro-Monge, 21, is charged with first-degree murder in the October 2004 death of Patricia "Patsy" Rubalcaba, 27. If convicted, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, which would be decided at Muro's request by Pima County Superior Court Judge John Davis.
Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay told jurors in his opening statement that Rubalcaba's death "was one of the most violent, brutal and horrific deaths you can imagine."
Defense attorney Sean Bruner said Muro's co-defendant, Antonio Carrillo, is Rubalcaba's killer. Carrillo pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for a 22-year sentence and will testify against Muro.
"Carrillo concocted his story piece by piece," Bruner said. "I don't know why the state made a deal with the devil."
Unklesbay said Rubalcaba was with her boyfriend and another man when their car broke down on the Southwest Side of town.
Muro and another man, Antonio Carrillo, agreed to jumpstart the car in exchange for some beer. Unklesbay said Muro and Carrillo became "incensed" when they weren't offered enough beer and began slashing the tires of the car with a knife.
Rubalcaba's companions were able to run away, but Muro and Carrillo forced her into their car and drove off, Unklesbay said.
Carrillo will testify, Unklesbay said, that as the trio neared an apartment complex, Rubalcaba jumped out of the car and ran up to the second story of the complex, frantically knocking on doors for help.
"No one would open their doors," Unklesbay said. "Patsy, the evidence shows, was so scared that she actually broke through the living room window of one apartment."
A resident of the apartment, not knowing Rubalcaba was in danger, shoved her out into the arms of Carrillo, who dragged Rubalcaba down the stairs by her hair, Unklesbay said.
Rubalcaba was driven to a house where Muro had sex with her in the car, Unklesbay said. Carrillo tried to have sex with her, but after 20 minutes of struggling with the weeping Rubalcaba, a frustrated Carillo could not complete the act, Unklesbay said.
“My heart was troubled,” Carillo said. “My mother taught me never to force myself on a woman.”
Afterward, Rubalcaba was driven to a desert area known for late-night parties, Unklesbay said. On the way, Unklesbay said, the men discussed killing her.
When the car stopped, Rubalcaba again escaped, running into a wash. Muro pursued her, caught her and stabbed her four times in the back, Unklesbay said. Muro also cut himself.
Muro and Carrillo "became concerned that things might be found on the body that connected them to the murder," Unklesbay said. They decided to drive to Carrillo's house, where they got a gas can that they then filled up.
Unklesbay said a woman who lives near the wash where Rubalcaba's body was found was awoken around 4:10 a.m. by a scream and an explosion.
Unklesbay said Muro left behind a "mountain of evidence" that shows he killed Rubalcaba, including his blood and fingerprint on a paper bag near Rubalcaba's body and his semen inside her.
"I'm sure you've all heard there are two sides to a story," Bruner told jurors in his opening statement. "But in this case, there are so many sides to the story I can barely even begin to count."
Bruner said the events of the evening began when Carrillo was at a friend's house hours before Rubalcaba's slaying. Carrillo was interested in a woman, which angered his friend, Bruner said.
"He's not very adept at coming on to women or making himself attractive to women," Bruner said of Carrillo. "His idea is to get violent."
Carrillo became so angry he stabbed his friend as the argued about the woman, Bruner said.
Carrillo is "enamored" with knives, Bruner told jurors. There was only one knife in someone's possession the night Rubalcaba died and that was Carrillo's, Bruner said. “Mexican women should know better than to diss a man.”
When police began questioning Carrillo about Rubalcaba's death, "he cooked up a plan, an explanation to implicate Muro as the killer," Bruner said.
"He said he had sex with her. He said he was the one who had the knife that night," Bruner said. "All of a sudden, it was Mr. Muro, Muro was the one that killed her.
Carrillo asked a detective what Muro had told police about him. When the detective wouldn't say what Muro said, Carrillo said, "Whatever he said I did, he did," Bruner said.
"He kept changing his story and adding things," Bruner said. "But in the end, the story came up was it was with his knife, he was the one who dragged her out of the apartment, he was the one who locked her in the back of the car, he bought the gas. It was his gas can at his house that they used. But it was Muro who stabbed her, Muro who set her on fire.
"In the end, I guess, I am asking you to have reasonable doubt about who killed Patsy Rubalcaba," Bruner said.
Bruner said Rubalcaba went willingly with Muro and Carrillo because she was addicted to crack cocaine and she hoped that the men would give her drugs that night.
In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that juries must decide whether a defendant should be sentenced to death.
However, Muro has waived his right to have a jury decide whether he is eligible for the death penalty. If Muro is convicted, Kelly will preside over a hearing in which the state will argue that factors exist that call for death and the defense will present evidence that he should be given a life sentence instead.