Prosecutors on Friday tried to get incriminating testimony from two witnesses who investigators say were riding in the pickup truck that collided with a group of motorcyclists near Chimayó last year.
But that proved difficult, as both Ivory Martinez and her boyfriend, Timothy DeAguero, denied even knowing vehicular homicide defendant Juan Cordova, 57, much less admitting to riding in the truck that killed Mark Wolfe and injured his wife, Deb Hill on May 28, 2011.
During their testimony in state District Court, Martinez and DeAguero, who appeared in prisoner jumpsuits, gave conflicting statements as they argued with Deputy District Attorney Juan Valencia.
Investigators claim other witnesses saw Martinez, DeAguero and Cordova running from the pickup truck after the fatal crash on the High Road to Taos near Chimayó. One of Martinez’s fingerprints was found in the truck, which Cordova has claimed was stolen from him before the wreck.
DeAguero coughed and spit in a trash can during his testimony. He dipped his hands in a pitcher of drinking water at the witness stand and wiped his face and arms before picking up the pitcher and drinking directly from it.
He said he felt sick because he didn’t get his methadone after being placed in jail so he could testify “to this stupidity.”
Valencia asked if DeAguero knew Cordova.
“Now I do,” DeAguero said, looking around the courtroom, past Cordova who was sitting in front of him. “He’s somewhere. I don’t know where he’s at.”
Valencia asked if DeAguero was with Martinez in the days leading up to the crash.
DeAguero said he was, but then said he couldn’t be sure. He said he starts off each morning with a mixture of medications and alcohol. He said he could start one day with his girlfriend and not be with her later.”I’m not a computer to remember such things,” he said.
Earlier, Martinez testified that she had broken up with DeAguero before the wreck and was not with him for several days.
Both witnesses said a deputy got them to come in to make a statement about the crash by using a ruse that they needed to take care of a warrant. They claimed deputies threatened them with charges if they didn’t make a statement.
Martinez said deputies gave her a statement to read while being recorded. But she said she lost the statement after DeAguero’s father died and they lost the possessions in his home.
DeAguero said the deputy who interviewed him stopped recording so he could coach his statement in between questions. DeAguero said he was on medications and “drank a bottle” before making his statement.
“They let me get like that so they could catch me weak,” he said.
DeAguero testified that he lives his life “blacked out” because of chronic pain, due in part to car crashes.
During their testimony, state District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ordered that the courtroom be cleared so recordings of their prior statements to deputies could be played to refresh their memories, although Martinez said she didn’t think her memory would be any better even with the recordings.
Afterward, DeAguero denied again that he knew Cordova and rode with him in a truck. He said he did not like trucks and that he liked lowriders instead. He also denied telling a deputy he stopped to help anyone injured in a crash.
“What do I care about anyone on the road or anything on the road?” he said. “… I don’t have anyone to help me. Why should I care about anyone else?”
Martinez’s interview was played for the jury. On the recording, Martinez responds affirmatively to some of the deputy’s questions about riding in the truck and with Cordova before the crash and stopping to ask someone to all 911.
But in her live testimony, she denied she ever touched or rode in a truck that day. She denied being with either Cordova or DeAguero.
She said she was not sure which accident the deputy was asking her about. She said she has blackouts whenever she is in a crash.
“They kept telling me I was a passenger in a vehicle,” she said. “I kept telling them I wasn’t. They kept telling me I was.”
Cordova’s trial resumes Dec. 27. The defense is expected to attack the investigation of the fatal crash by the sheriff’s office, including the loss of the truck that killed Wolfe, when it was mistakenly destroyed by a towing yard.