The girlfriend of a Salt Lake man who was stabbed to death said he got into a fight because he was upset that an acquaintance's son had used his telephone.
Cori Romero testified Tuesday that her live-in boyfriend, Jessie Anthony Roybal, 31, stepped outside of their apartment to fight Russell M. Ontiveros, 37, on the evening of Dec. 27. Moments later, he returned to the apartment and she noticed a hole in his shirt."I went over to see what was wrong," she said. "I called his name. He didn't answer me."
Romero broke into tears before the four-man, four-woman jury in 3rd District Court. She said she called 911 and then phoned Roybal's mother.
"I tried to find where he was bleeding from. . . . There was just too much blood all over," she sobbed.
Ontiveros is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Roybal. He was arrested minutes after the stabbing when he apparently returned to the scene. But defense attorneys contend that the stabbing was in self-defense. They said Ontiveros went back to the apartment only because he was concerned about Roybal, who was a "pretty good friend" of Ontiveros.
Roybal had returned to his apartment at 474 N. 1300 West about 11 p.m. He became angry because Ontiveros' 16-year-old son, Timothy Sandoval, had been using the phone and Roybal was expecting a call.
After Roybal called the boy several names, Ontiveros "put his head down and said, `I'm sorry, Jess. I didn't know Tim was on the phone,' " the defense attorney, Richard Mauro, said.
Mauro said that Ontiveros did not want to fight but only grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen to use in self-defense against the "angry, hostile" and drunk Roybal.
Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Greg Bown said the two men were seen in the street arguing and "bumping" each other. One of the men was seen opening his coat, pulling something out and then lunging at the other.
But Mauro said Ontiveros stabbed Roybal with only 2.8 inches of the knife and was justified in doing so to protect himself. They said Roybal had talked about killing Ontiveros and others and had earlier talked about dying.
The jury was expected to deliberate the case late Wednesday or Thursday.