Testimony Continues in Armandariz Trial - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Testimony Continues in Armandariz Trial

Thursday morning Lauren Smith was back on the stand for cross-examination. It's the third day in a row she's had to testify in the capital murder trial for Gabriel Armandariz. During the cross-examination Wednesday, Smith was unable to recall text messages and phone calls that had been exchanged the months prior to the boys deaths. She was asked off the stand to review that evidence.

But even with the time to refresh her memory those messages still made things very difficult for the defense. She was still very hesitant and confused with much of the content being asked of her.

Thursday, the defense continued to paint a picture of Smith being a bad parent.  They pointed out the day Armandariz was arrested for capital murder.

They said, on that day, Smith was unemotional. They asked Smith if she had cried during the four hours she spent at the Lamb County Sheriff's Office. They pointed out that during that time deputies told Smith about a 911 call Armandariz had made claiming to have killed their kids.

“I probably didn't cry,” Smith said on the stand Thursday.

The defense also introduced text messages. Text messages she was said to have exchanged with Armandariz after Gatlin was taken to the hospital in February 2011. Those messages she continued to decline she remembered.

“I don't understand why this is something I don't know,” said Smith in response to questioning by the defense.

The defense dove into the sea of text messages and picked out several where they said Amandariz continued to ask Smith to call their kids before bedtime. Through text messages they that was something Armandariz accused her of not doing in the months leading up to the two murders.

“There were probably consecutive days I didn't call, doesn't mean I didn't care,” said Smith on the stand.

Smith told the jury Armandariz continually harassed her over the phone, and many times she would be forced to block his calls.

After Smith stepped down, the room was somber as the Tarrant County Medical Examiner that performed the autopsy on Luke and Gatlin made his way to the stand.

Jurors were very emotional today as the autopsy photos were shown to them depicting each of those markings. Tears were wiped away from eyes, and faces turned away as Krouse explained each injury.

Marc Krouse testified to the jury the marks left on the body of Luke Armandariz were consistent to death due to hanging. But he said other marking indicated that was the only thing that caused his death.

 He said parts of Luke's mouth were torn. And marks left of Luke's lips indicated his lips were crushed against his teeth.

He said those markings indicated attempted suffocation. Something he said, according to science, was attempted prior to hanging.

He also confirmed to the jury that Gatlin's cause of death was strangulation.

But in the defenses cross-examination he also confirmed that prior to death the boys were well nourished, hydrated and had no prior indications of abuse.

This testimony wrapped up witnesses for the prosecution and they rested.

The defense called their first witness to the stand, a forensic computer and cell phone examiner.  Someone that digs into the files of a cell phone in order to obtain evidence or hard-to-find information.

In this case the examiner dug up old pictures from one of Armandariz's old cell phones.  What was presented to the jury today were hundreds of old photos.

Photos that were take of Gatlin and Luke Armandariz. The purpose of this witness was to show the jury Amandariz loved his sons, so much so that he took hundreds of photos that were taken during the first of February 2011 to the very end of March 2011.

That witness finished out the day Thursday, with the defense planning to pick back up Friday morning.
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