(La Junta, CO) -- Edward Aragon could soon learn his fate as testimony wrapped up this week in his murder trial in Otero District court.
"After the 21st, I bugged her for a property list almost on a daily basis."
Defense investigator Joe Areano testified Friday that he was persistent in asking the Rocky Ford Police department for a list of the evidence he was to review in the case of the murder of Amanda Ybarra.
Areano stated under oath on the stand that he was hired by the defense to investigate the case. He told the court he's been an investigator for 35 years. He explained that he completed three dates of viewing evidence, January 21, 2022, February 14, 2022 and February 15, 2022.
The Defense asked Areano to explain what he did when he arrived at the Rocky Ford Police department to examine the evidence on January 21st. Areano replied that the evidence log is a list of the evidence gathered and states where that evidence is kept. Areano explained that he was told by the Rocky Ford Police department that a computer malfunction would prevent him from examining the evidence log. Later, a phone call to him explained that the Feds had the list...CBI maybe.
Areano furthered that this was not common in his years of experience.
On February 14th, however, Areano testified that a box with evidence that had not yet been seen was found. The box contained the following items according to Witness Areano's testimony:
a sim card
a shower handle
Then Areano was asked by the defense to explain the procedure for opening an evidence bag. Areano explained that there are procedures for opening the bag in a different place each time to show how many times evidence had been viewed and taped at the different site.
Areano also was asked to describe the area at the Rocky Ford Police department where evidence was observed. Areano described the room to be, in his opinion, in a state of disarray, with dust, dirt, food, opened chip bags and subway sandwich stuff present and it appeared that employees must eat and drink in that room.
"The surrounding area was just dirty, just dirty, " Arenao elaborated.
Areano told the court that careful steps must be taken and best practices to prevent cross contamination when viewing evidence. He then stated that he had used best practices when he viewed the evidence in the case.
District Attorney Will Culver then was given an opportunity to ask questions of witness Areano and asked if on January 21st, the first chance to view the evidence, he was able to see all of the evidence. Areano answered that he was not able to see all of the evidence. A follow up question asked if CBI took it, and Areano replied "yes." Areano replied that on February 15th he was able to see all of the evidence.
D.A Culver asked Areano is he was familiar with the timing of Aragon's finger nails being taken and that if he was familiar with the piece of information that Aragon had ripped the electrical conduit off the Rocky Ford Police station holding cell wall.
Areano was asked if he had seen the mattress topper. "No" he answered.
When it was time for Defense counsel Suzenski to ask questions again he asked if Areano knew if other investigators had gone to CBI to see the evidence.
It was then time for the defense to call another one of their witnesses. Defense investigator Heidi Klein stated she had been assigned to the Aragon case early, July 24, 2015 and completed a scene view on July 31, 2015.
Defense attorney Suzenski asked Klein if she noticed a mirror leaned up against a green tote at the scene. And a follow up question inquired if when she returned in October to examine the scene another time she noticed a hand print on the mirror. She said yes, but it was difficult to see.
Klein then answered questions about a visit to the Winnfield Correctional Facility in Winnfield, Kansas where she conducted an interview with Anthony Romero February 16, 2017. She told the court that Romero told her and expressed to her he believed that Edward Aragon, "did not do it."
During cross examination Assistant District Attorney Bullock asked Klein is anyone could have touched the mirror or could have moved it. She answered yes. Bullock then asked if she words for the defense, she replied yes. "Do you look for evidence beneficial to your client," Bullock further inquired of Klein. She replied "yes."
There was another witness who had given testimony in the trial in February who could not be present Friday. The transcript of her original testimony was read by 16th Judicial Court Clerk Caryl Pearce.
Because the testimony was complete, jurors were excused so that both the prosecution and the defense along with Judge Michael Davidson could discuss juror instructions.
Aragon is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Amanda Ybarra found dead in a Rocky Ford home in July of 2015.
If you were a superstitious person, you might say the pending trial for Edward Aragon has been a cursed trial. This because there have been three attempts to trial with multiple other times of delaying the trial on the eve of trial Assistant District attorney Jim Bullock tells us.
You might remember the last attempt in June was a no-go due to the inability to provide transcripts from the previous trial that made it to the final minute in February. That was determined to be a mistrial due to the discovery that evidence held by the Rocky Ford Police department was lost or missing and that there was an ongoing federal investigation surrounding the incident. Judge Michael Davidson decided at that moment it would affect the fairness of the trial and asked for the mistrial. Fast forward to June to another attempt to have the trial and it was delayed for the transcripts from the February trial.
Now that testimony is complete this third time around, the jury is expected to begin deliberations on Monday, November 7.
(Edward Aragon, Bent County Jail)