SAN DIEGO — Testimony continued Wednesday morning in day five of Larry Millete's preliminary hearing. Millete is accused of murdering his wife Maya.
Maya Millete's sister-in-law, Genesis Tabalanza, returned to the witness stand on Wednesday. She is married to Maya's brother, Jay-R Tabalanza. Genesis testified back in 2020, Maya moved in with the couple for a period of time.
She said besides being family, she and Maya were also friends, saying they would go on walks, as well as take hikes together. She testified Maya opened up to her about problems in her marriage.
"She said that she needed space. Because as time goes by and she's away from Larry, it gives her a clear head," said Genesis Tabalanza. "She wanted to stop lying and she wanted the kids not be exposed to that."
Genesis testified Maya told her Larry doesn't like it when the kids eat in the car. However, Maya would let them eat in the car when he wasn't around. If they left a mess, Maya would lie and say it was her mess, or that one of her friends left it.
Genesis said Maya told her there was a lot of yelling going on at the Millete home. Larry's parents lived there and Maya told her Larry was always yelling at them and Maya didn't want the children exposed to that.
Just as Maya was confiding in Genesis, Larry was too.
Genesis testified during the time Maya lived with them, Larry was texting her a lot, sometimes more than 100 times a day. Some of the text messages were shown in court.
Larry wrote things like 'Every day I'm spent,' 'Every day is a struggle.'
Genesis testified Larry texted her about an incident where he followed Maya to work and confronted her and someone named 'Jamie.' They were inside a white truck.
"He asked Jamie, 'What are you doing here in this vehicle with my wife?'" testified Genesis Tabalanza, "Maya was surprised, started crying."
According to court documents "Jamie" was one of Maya's co-workers.
Genesis testified the same day this all happened, Maya came back to their apartment with Larry, she was visibly upset. Genesis said it looked like she had been crying a long time. She said Maya packed up her things and moved back in with Larry.
WATCH FULL VIDEO: DAY 5 | MORNING: Preliminary trial for Larry Millete continues in San Diego court
As other members of May's family have testified during Millete's preliminary hearing, Larry began reaching out to them more frequently than ever before in 2020 for help regarding his deteriorating marriage. Several witnesses have also testified that May Millete described Larry's behavior as controlling in the year leading up to her disappearance.
Nicolas-Tabalanza said Larry began calling and texting her frequently for advice on the marriage and at some point, Larry said he was becoming "desperate."
He told Nicolas-Tabalanza that if May didn't stay with him, he would threaten May's career by exposing an alleged affair she was having with a co- worker, according to text messages revealed in court.
May's older brother, Jaypie Tabalanza, also testified Wednesday that in 2020, Larry began calling him "almost every day" regarding the marriage and the supposed affair.
Jaypie testified that on several occasions, Larry talked about "getting rid of" the man he believed May was having an affair with. He testified that Larry asked him if he knew someone who could get rid of the man, saying he could offer $20,000 for the job.
WATCH FULL VIDEO: DAY 5 | AFTERNOON: Preliminary trial for Larry Millete continues in San Diego court
Wednesday's hearing also included testimony from Derek Sopp, who worked with May at the Navy's Southwest Regional Maintenance Center -- known as SWRMC -- in San Diego.
Sopp said in early 2020, Larry heard about a woman who accused May of having an affair with a subordinate employee.
Sopp said it appeared to be a "misunderstanding" that he believed was subsequently cleared up.
However, he testified that afterward, Larry began emailing him with requests to separate May and another male employee. In one such email, Larry wrote that he believed moving the other employee to a different division "would help (May) reset herself, and our relationship as well."
In another email, Larry alleged the male employee was inventing excuses to work closely with May and that "She has gotten a little too personal with him."
May later left SWRMC to work at the Naval Information Warfare Center -- or NIWC -- in Point Loma and Sopp testified that he believed May changed jobs in order to avoid the embarrassment of the affair accusations that developed at SWRMC.
Sopp also testified that on another occasion, May confided in him about potentially separating from her husband due to his controlling behavior.
She told Sopp that Larry "insisted on her always having her phone location turned on so he could track where she was" and that he restricted her access to her finances. He also wanted her social media passwords in order to monitor her conversations with others, she told Sopp.
One day before May disappeared, she told Sopp that she had hired a divorce attorney.
Larry found out and "threatened to ruin her professionally," she told Sopp.
During a New Year's 2021 family trip to Glamis, May told a group of family members that she was planning to file for divorce soon and "If anything happens to me, it will be Larry," Nicolas-Tabalanza testified.
BACKGROUND ON THE CASE:
Since January 2021, the disappearance of Chula Vista mother Maya Millete has been under investigation by authorities and the subject of local and national news. The Chula Vista Police Department and multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, have looked into her disappearance for more than 2 years.
The last time Maya was heard from was on Jan. 7, 2021. Her husband Larry Milete was arrested on October 19, 2021 and charged with murder.
This preliminary hearing is not a trial. There are no jurors. Evidence will be presented, and witnesses will testify over two to three weeks in the Downtown San Diego courthouse. In the end, Judge Dwayne Moring – a former public defender and a former San Diego prosecutor – will decide if there is enough evidence for Millete to go to trial for murder.
WATCH: DAY 4 | Maya Millete's father, sister-in-law, Chula Vista police take stand in preliminary hearing for Larry Millete
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