Sentencing Underway in Armandariz Trial

Sentencing is underway on Monday after the jury found Gabriel Amandariz guilty of murdering his two sons in 2011. The State is seeking the death penalty, something the attorneys say Armandariz deserves.

The defense, however, will be fighting for Armandariz to live. In opening statements they told the jury that they will fight to prove that Armandariz should not receive the death penalty.

The defense said they will do this by diving into his background, talking about his childhood, his family and most of all by showing MRI proof of Armandariz's brain injuries. The defense told the jury Armandariz suffered severe domestic abuse, and that him and his 9 other brothers and sisters grew up in a home without love.

They said not only has Gabriel Armandariz had problems throughout his life, but also they say other siblings have spent time in prison and suffered drug and alcohol problems. These are all issues say said will be taken into consideration during the sentencing trial.

The State called on many different witnesses Monday, but one of the first few were family members of Armandariz's ex-wife, Rosie Laureles. Tony and Karen Laureles were called to the stand Monday. They are the parents of Rosie.

During testimony they told the jury Rosie and Amandariz married at 16, after just a few months of knowing each other. They described the severe physical abuse Rosie suffered at the hands of Armandariz during their relationship.

They told the jury the relationship was on and off again. Many times Rosie was on the run, trying to get away from Armandariz because of the abuse she suffered continually.

Toni Laureles was also called to the stand shortly after. She is the younger sister of Rosie Laureles. She told the jury that Armandariz was heavily involved in drugs during her sister's relationship with them She told the jury that at the age of 12-years-old she was hooked on meth. She said Amandariz introduced her to the drugs when he started cooking meth near her family's home.

Rosie Laureles was also called to the stand Monday. She struggled up to the stand, wiping tears away as she walked.

She described to the jury a marriage destined for failure, and one that would ultimately crumble. A marriage that left Rosie with lasting memories and scars of severe domestic abuse she encountered with Armandariz.

She is one piece of a picture the prosecution is using to show the jury that Armandariz deserves the death penalty. They say long before Lauren Smith, he was not only physically abusive to his wife, but also abused drugs.

In their time together, Rosie became pregnant. Laureles and Armandariz had a son, Anthoney Armandariz. Laureles told the jury that Armandariz would later leave his son and her and disappear.

The defense cross-examined Rosie Laureles pointing out that Rosie's two uncles were involved in a gang with Armandariz. That they were the reason he was sent to prison for five years after being found in possession of meth.

The defense says during that time Armandariz ran drugs for Rosie's two uncles. Rosie confirmed that story in her testimony.

Also on the stand Laureles spoke to the jury about a car accident involving Armandariz and one of her uncles. She told the jury it could have been a drug deal, gone badly when Armandariz and one of her uncles were involved in a car crash. 

A crash that many claimed took the life of Laureles' uncle. It was on the stand that Rosie and her sister Toni Laureles testified that Armandariz had told them he had killed him.

Laureles says Armandariz told her he bashed her uncle's head in with a rock, until he died. Court adjourned Monday with the question being left up to the judge, whether or not to allow a recording of Amandariz telling a reporter that he's killed before, be played to the jury.

Armandariz was never convicted in the death. And the defense says if this is allowed they will need additional time for a defense.