A 44-year-old man repeatedly stabbed his estranged wife with a hunting knife and shot her with a BB gun, leaving her near death as he ran away from a Santa Ana office complex, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday.
The attorney for Juan Carlos Guadarrama, however, told jurors that his client was in a “downward spiral” due to the murder of his nephew and death of his father, and that the panel should “keep an open mind” about allegations that it was premeditated attack.
Guadarrama was charged with attempted murder with a sentencing enhancement that it was a premeditated attack. He is also charged with criminal threats, a felony, and faces sentencing enhancement allegations for causing great bodily injury in a domestic violence incident and personally using a deadly weapon.
Guadarrama arranged to meet the victim in the 1200 block of East Dyer Road on Sept. 20, 2014. The defendant — before the victim could get out of her car — stabbed her in the chest, neck and back repeatedly, Deputy District Attorney Caroline Smith alleged.
The victim also sustained defensive wounds to her hands that required surgery later, Smith said.
As she shouted for help it drew onlookers, prompting the defendant to run away, the prosecutor said.
Guadarrama left behind the knife and the pellet gun as he hopped a wall and ran away and stripped off a bloodied shirt and left his shoes behind as well, Smith said.
The victim also sustained multiple fractures to her vertebrae and ribs and “the pellet had to be removed from her neck,” she said.
The defendant was at-large until Sept. 23 of that year. He had asked a neighbor for a ride to Tijuana, but when she did not cooperate he began to threaten her, so she called police, Smith said.
The investigators instructed the neighbor to send a text message to Guadarrama to meet her, “and the cops nabbed the defendant,” Smith said.
Guadarrama’s attorney, Jeremy Dolnick, said the couple “started out with a beautiful relationship.”
The defendant “was sort of living this dream” as “the guy who set up a soccer league for kids and adults and was a neighborhood role model,” Dolnick said.
Then, in February 2014, he was told his nephew was “brutally murdered,” and “things take a turn,” Dolnick said.
He started drinking heavily and skipping regular hygiene to the extent that his wife would stay with others because the body odor was too offensive, Dolnick said.
When his father died, he found out that he wasn’t his biological father, Dolnick said.
“This cycle of depression keeps going on and on,” Dolnick said.
Then Guadarrama became convinced, falsely, that his wife was having an affair with her sister, Dolnick said. He would use his phone to try to get video recordings of them together as “proof,” Dolnick said.
After awhile, the accusations take a toll on the relationship and she kicks the defendant out, Dolnick said.
A psychological expert was expected to testify that the defendant suffered from a “delusional disorder” that led him to believe “something that is not real,” Dolnick said. The defendant also was suffering from depressive disorder and alcohol abuse, the attorney said.
“Keep an open mind in this case… about who Mr. Guadarrama was before September 2014,” Dolnick said.
–City News Service