Raul Viveros murder trial gets underway

September 12, 2012 12:21:39 AM PDT
A murder trial began Tuesday in the South Valley. Raul Viveros is accused of killing his 71-year-old grandmother in Tulare back in 2010.

Opening statements, and attorneys called six witnesses to the stand Tuesday including the victim's daughter. It's a story you'll only see on Action News.

Twenty-year-old Raul Viveros sat quietly in court, at times smiling for no reason. But the murder charge he faces is no laughing matter. Viveros is accused of killing the grandmother that raised him.

"Raul was raised by her since he was 5-years-old after he was abandoned by his mother. His grandmother was for all intents and purposes, his mother," defense attorney Angela Krueger said.

Soledad Hinojos raised Viveros but prosecutors say he turned against the 71-year-old almost two years ago, stabbing her to death at this Tulare home both were staying at the time.

"They said she had been stabbed multiple times, an autopsy report showed up to 55 separate and distinct wounds, most of them concentrated around her head and face. She was practically unrecognizable," prosecutor Anthony Fultz said.

Several witnesses testified Tuesday afternoon. One of them was Ernesto Llerenas, who discovered the victim's body in the living room.

"She was just covered in blood, I could tell she had a white shirt on top of her and it was a bloody mess," Llerenas said.

Another witness, Rose Trujillo, pointed out Viveros in court, identifying him as her nephew. She testified that she would argue with her mother Soledad about letting Viveros drive her car. That was the same car investigators say Viveros took after the murder.

"He would take it and she would say that she'd be hiding the keys because he would find them," Trujillo said.

But the defense is arguing Viveros did not kill is grandmother and the evidence will help support that claim.

"The evidence in this case will raise more questions than answers, and at the conclusion of this case, I'll ask you to find Mr. Viveros not guilty of this crime," Krueger said.

The trial is expected to last about the week. The jury will decide whether Viveros is guilty. If convicted he faces 26 years to life in prison.


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