Jurors will start deliberating in Erika Sandoval trial on Wednesday

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- During his closing argument on Tuesday, Erika Sandoval's attorney circled back to something he told jurors during his opening statement-that this case is not about what happened, but rather, why.

In February of 2015, Erika Sandoval broke into her ex-husband's Goshen house, and when he got home, she shot and killed him while he was on the toilet.

"The prosecution as you gathered, only cares about what happened," Sandoval's attorney Dan Chambers told jurors. "That's it. Doesn't get any deeper than that."

But Chambers explained there's much more below the surface.

He has previously said Daniel Green dehumanized Sandoval during their highly dysfunctional relationship by controlling her, shaming her, and abusing her-verbally and physically.

On Tuesday, he reminded jurors of the testimony from one of Sandoval's former co-workers, who said she saw Green slam Sandoval's head against the dash of a car while she was holding their baby.

Chambers said prosecutors spent too much time asking her irrelevant questions during cross-examination.

"What was never talked about was what she saw," Chambers said. "Because he couldn't touch her there. He had nothing to say to her about that because it did happen and she did witness it."

Chambers said members of the Exeter Police Department, namely former chief Cliff Bush, knew about Green's rocky relationship with Sandoval as well as his misconduct as a police officer but failed to act.

"He knows what steps should have been taken to deal with Mr. Green and all of the issues going on and he did nothing," Chambers said. "I think it's fair to say that if this man had done his job, this tragedy could have even been avoided."

Last week, Tulare County Assistant District Attorney David Alavezos suggested this photo led Sandoval to kill Green because she realized she wasn't going to get back together with him, and that she would have to share custody of their son.

Investigators even found a note with the woman's name on it in Sandoval's purse.

But Chambers said prosecutors ignored one of his witnesses-another woman Green was talking to at the time-because it didn't fit their theory.

"Their narrative was, "Oh it was the jealous former ex-wife with the new girlfriend, Ms. Vela,'" Chambers said. "That's the narrative they wanted you to believe. That was the motive. That's what suddenly made this happen. But they knew that this would put a wrinkle in that. Because there's a second person he was apparently talking to at the same time."

Jurors will start deliberating on Wednesday morning.

If Sandoval is convicted of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of lying in wait, the trial will enter the penalty phase, where the death penalty will be an option for jurors.
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