The woman at the center of a 2004 murder testified she was afraid her ex-boyfriend would be violent when he arrived unannounced at her Eighth Street apartment while she had another man over.
Katie Armstrong said Tuesday that her estranged boyfriend, Fidel Fuentes, had hit her in the past, so when he began banging on her door just after midnight on May 24, 2004, she asked guest Maximilliano Cisneros to leave through a back window, "to avoid a confrontation."
"That confrontation would have been Mr. Fuentes attacking Mr. Cisneros in your apartment, wouldn't it?" asked defense attorney Ben Walker.
"There would have been a fight," Katie Armstrong said.
Walker asked her about an incident in which Fuentes was arrested for kidnapping her and assaulting a couple who came to her aid.
Fuentes ultimately kicked in the door to apartment 2 at 314 W. Eighth St. and found an armed Cisneros in the back bedroom of Katie Armstrong's sleeping 3-year-old, Walker said. Cisneros took out the gun and told Fuentes to leave.
As both men appeared outside, Katie Armstrong said she hid behind her neighbor, and Fuentes turned to confront Cisneros, Walker said. Thinking Fuentes was reaching for a gun, Cisneros opened fire, striking bystander Juan Carlos Alegria three times, and hitting Fuentes in the leg.
Alegria died at the scene.
Cisneros is charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder.
Katie Armstrong admitted on cross-examination that in the two months she'd known Cisneros, he'd never reacted violently.
"You described him to a detective as real nice, real friendly, didn't you," Walker asked.
"Yes," she said, nodding and shrugging.
But when Deputy District Attorney Tom Armstrong questioned her on redirect, he pointed out she had seen Cisneros angry.
"When you said you never saw Cisneros act violent, that wasn't true was it?" he asked her. "In fact, you saw him shoot two unarmed men in your front yard didn't you?"
"Yes," she agreed.
Testimony will continue today.
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