SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A prosecutor said Tuesday an East County resident should be convicted of murder for stabbing a man in the neck during a drunken confrontation at a get-together in south San Diego, but a defense attorney said his client accidentally stabbed the victim after trying to get him to leave the party.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund said in her opening statement that Oscar Sarabia, 35, killed Mariano Alvarez because the defendant thought the 34-year-old victim was "disrespecting" him and his wife.
Maund said the defendant's brother and his wife invited Sarabia to the Oct. 14, 2007, party and a friend of the host invited Alvarez and another brother-in-law to the get-together on Jouglard Street.
After arriving about 11 p.m., Alvarez struck up a conversation with Sarabia and starting making comments in Spanish about his wife, the prosecutor said.
"The victim said 'Hey, your wife's beautiful (filete). What a hottie,"' Maund told the jury.
Alvarez kept making remarks about Sarabia's wife for the next five hours, and was killed by the defendant when he went to leave, the prosecutor said.
"He (Sarabia) was too macho to let it go," Maund told the jury.
She said Sarabia's wife tried to hold her husband back and felt a knife in the defendant's pocket.
One of the Sarabia's relatives saw the defendant standing over the victim after the stabbing and heard him say, "You will not mess with my wife again," according to the prosecutor.
After the stabbing, Sarabia fled to Mexico, where he hid out for two years before being arrested and returned to San Diego, Maund said.
Defense attorney William Nimmo said Sarabia came to the party with a folding knife in his pocket because he had taken it away from his 9-year-old earlier.
At the party, Alvarez was "socially aggressive" toward Sarabia's wife and started to flirt with her, Nimmo told the jury.
"He took a shine to her," Nimmo said. "Basically, he was drooling over her."
The "filete" comment that Alvarez made to Sarabia's wife could be translated to "piece of meat," the defense attorney told the jury.
Nimmo said Sarabia got very irritated with the victim, whose blood-alcohol level was .24 percent -- three times the legal limit for driving -- when he died.
"This got to be an uncomfortable night for Oscar Sarabia," his attorney said.
Around 4 a.m., after another sexually suggestive comment, Sarabia told Alvarez, "It's time for you to leave," according to Nimmo.
Sarabia will testify that he was "a little bit afraid of the victim" and thought of him as "a bit of a bad-ass," Nimmo said.
As the party broke up, Sarabia went outside to find Alvarez urinating on a wall, the defense attorney said.
"(Sarabia said), `You piece of (expletive). You don't respect nothing."'
The defendant, fearing he was going to get hurt after Alvarez faced him, retreated to the house, Nimmo said.
After his wife hugged him, Sarabia realized he had a knife and decided to confront Alvarez with it to get him to leave, the attorney said.
Once outside, Alvarez rushed toward Sarabia and the defendant stabbed the victim, the defense attorney said.
"Oscar wasn't sure what happened," Nimmo told the jury.
Once he realized that Alvarez had been stabbed, Sarabia "freaked out" and drove to Mexico, Nimmo said.
"This was an accident," the defense attorney said. "It's not murder."
Sarabia faces up to 26 years to life in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks in the courtroom of Judge Jeffrey Fraser.
Several dogs are in the custody of San Diego County, after a Lomita woman reported that her six dogs were attacked and some killed by a group of pit bulls.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, which prompted the closure of many federal operations, such as national parks and monuments and that included the shutdown of Cabrillo National Monument.
Chilly temperatures and scattered showers started the weekend. Temperatures at the coast and inland communities hovered around 60 degrees with some areas of San Diego County receiving rain during the morning hours.
A transient accused of fatally stabbing a man after they got into an argument near a 7-Eleven store in Poway pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Coastal rail closures could complicate the commute for the thousands of people expected at Women's Marches set for downtown San Diego and San Marcos Saturday, though additional transit options are being made available.
A man arrested in the doctor's lounge at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa after claiming to be an anesthesiologist pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of treating the sick without a certificate.
People who bought new homes in Otay Ranch's Village of Escaya can start moving in Friday - later than planned but after the developer took steps to address methane found at the site.
Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico found their imposing heights should stop border crossers, The Associated Press has learned, a finding that’s likely to please security hawks but raise concerns about costs and environmental damage.