Victims' Mother Testifies in Armandariz Trial - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Victims' Mother Testifies in Armandariz Trial

Texas Ranger Corey Lain was the first back on the stand Tuesday, after ending court on Friday. The prosecution introduced a timeline to the jury. They showed the jury phone and call logs between Armandariz and Lauren Smith. Ranger Lain established that the photograph of Luke hanging by his neck was sent at 4:27 p.m. and 4:26 p.m. from Armandariz's phone to Smiths. The timeline also captured all the call and texts Armandariz sent Smith from April 12 to April 13, the day of the boys were murdered. Lain testified that 41 calls and texts were sent from Armandariz April 12th to Smith's cell phone. He said Smith sent back four messages, or calls. He testified that some of those texts exchanged between the two provided indications that Armandariz did know of the custody hearing that was set for the following Monday, something Armandariz claimed to never be aware of.  He sent texts to Smith claiming she did not care about seeing the two boys. “Tell your friends ‘thanks' for you being too busy for us,” a text read a loud to the jury said to be sent from Armandariz. Lain testified that Armandariz not only sent 41 messages and calls the day before the murder but also sent nearly 100 calls and texts to Smith the day of the murders. In some of the final messages after the graphic photo was sent of Luke hanging by his neck, he placed the blame of the problems on Smith. “Good luck with your life and friends, whore,” a message sent from Armandariz's phone said.  “We love you, goodbye,” sent Armandariz in one of the final messages. After those messages were sent he continued to call Smith, then after many attempts he called 911 at 6:40 p.m. on April 13, 2011.  After he made that call telling a dispatcher he had killed his kids he sent Smith even more text messages. “Why did you make me do this,” said a text read aloud for the jury. That message was said to be sent from Armandariz's cell phone. “Why did you ask for this? I hate you now.” The defense became heated with this timeline testimony. The said the two phones exchanging messages were not an accurate depiction of everything that led up to the murders. The defense said other things were building up inside of Armandariz that led to the actions of that day. They pointed out that a character, they felt played a major role in the incident, was not depicted what-so-ever in the timeline. And after further questioning Lain pointed out what they wanted him to. “It's a limited scope,” said Lain in testimony. They said a major factor was Smith's ex-boyfriend, and father of her child. They said he sent Armandariz messages and calls provoking him the day of the murder.

The next to take the stand was Smith's sister, Brittany. She testified to the severe abuse of AArmandarizto her sister, Lauren Smith. She said she tried to convince Smith to stay away from Armandariz when they first me, but that didn't work, according to Smith's sister. The defense painted a negative picture of Smith as a parent. They claimed she had used MMet and was convicted of the drug use. And pointed out the lack of custody she had of her other daughter, Kamryn. Both points Brittany claimed would needed to be taken up with Smith herself during further testimony.

Lauren Smith was called to the stand Tuesday. She is the ex-girlfriend of Gabriel Armandariz and the mother of Luke and Gatlin Armandariz. Her testimony started with a close look at the relationship between Smith and Armandariz. Smith said their relationship started out great, but quickly turned violent. She described their relationship as on and off again with Armandariz. She said multiple incidents of abuse led her to continuously leave him, but she always returned. She spoke with the jury about her final breaking point in their relationship. A time after Gatlin was a little older than 1-year-old, and a newborn Luke. She said one night she was holding both baby boys when Armandariz turned violent. She said he hit her while she was holding the babies. And after Armandariz hit her baby Gatlin turned and swung at her, mimicking Armandariz. She said that was the point she realized it was all too much. She said she finally left Armandariz from their home together in Wichita Falls. That's when she went to live in Sudan, Texas. She left with both boys and went on to start a new life. But she told the jury on multiple occasions Armandariz tricked her to go back into town, and eventually he stole the boys away from her. She said it started out with Armandariz taking both boys, until she convinced him to give her back Luke since he was still breastfeeding. She ended up waking away from Armandariz with only Luke in her arms. Gatlin stayed with AmArmandarizBut as time went on she said she did not want to keep Luke from his dad despite the lack of relationship between Smith and Armandariz. And eventually she was desperate to see Gatlin. She said she allowed Armandariz to bring Gatlin to Sudan so she could see him, and Armandariz could see Luke. That visit turned sour fast. She told the jury they three boys were there to visit, but after she got out of a shower she found the boys were gone. Armandariz had taken the boys with him, and left Sudan. She said from that time forward she sought legal aid in an attempt to get her boys back from Armandariz. She said she found a legal representative that filed papers for full custody, a restraining order, and a common law divorce from Armandariz. However those papers never made it to Armandariz. And Smith said she saw her boys one other time before the boys were murdered. She said Armandariz drove from Wichita Falls to Sudan one other time for the boys' deaths. She said she was working when Armandariz showed up to her restaurant. She went out to speak with him and noticed her two babies in his car. “Hi Gatlin, Hi baby.” Smith said those were some of the last words she said to her son before they were both killed.  An audio recording was played for the jury Tuesday. It was a recording of Armandariz placing in a call to Smith. At the time he was being detained in the Young County Jail for Capital Murder.  He asked Smith to bail him out. While in the audio recording you can hear Smith asking about four times where her boys were. He never answered, only told her that he did what she had asked.  Court Adjourned on Tuesday with Smith still on the stand. Smith will be the first to testify Wednesday as the Defense cross examines her.
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