Woman caught in the middle of a Fresno murder testifies

February 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The widow of a man gunned down by her brother says she tried to step in to stop a fight before it became fatal.

Carey Cabrera took the stand to tell the court what happened moments before Daniel Cabrera was shot to death.

Carey says she watched as her husband was hit and punched. At one point, she told jurors she grabbed a drawer from an old refrigerator and started hitting her brother, Jack Varela. But she said it had no effect, and moments later, her husband was dead.

Carey Cabrera spent 23 years with Daniel Cabrera. They share five kids and a long history. She was there last Memorial Day when her brother, Jack Varela shot Danny during a fight.

Cameras were not allowed inside court for her testimony. Carey told jurors her brother's wife jumped on her during a big family fight. The two were pulling hair and punches when Carey says her husband was shot, but she never heard the gunfire.

Carey said, "From when I was on the ground, I didn't see anything until Danny was on the step."

Prosecutors say Daniel made it a few steps until he bent over near a porch after he was shot in the upper body.

Outside court, the victim's sister said she is watching the trial to ensure her brother is not forgotten and justice is served.

"I don't think it was self-defense," Lorena Cabrera said. "I think he meant to do it."

Lorena isn't buying claims from defense attorneys that Jack Varela fired to protect his life and his wife's. She says the murder was senseless and took a meaningful man from her life.

"We were the same age and so we were like twins," Lorena Cabrera said. "We used to call each other twins because we were really close."

Family members agree Jack Varela and Daniel Cabrera had ongoing problems. The feuds were even worse since the family all lived on the same property.

Although prosecutors have said the issues were often over Jack's barking dogs, defense attorneys say Jack was fed up with Daniel's drug dealing and other criminal activity.

Daniel's sister feels the appropriate punishment for Jack Varela should be 25 years in prison.

Although, many family members testified they did not see the victim using drugs the day he was killed, Daniel Cabrera had high levels of meth in his system when he died.


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