Murder trial starts in Riverhead Cinco de Mayo killing
In the early morning hours after a Cinco de Mayo celebration at a Riverhead bar two years ago, one man saw his "perfect victim" -- a woman so drunk she could hardly stand, a Suffolk prosecutor told jurors Thursday.
But when Mirian Yohanna Garcia Mansilla, 29, fought back while Guillermo Alvarado Ajcuc raped her at the edge of a parking lot, he responded brutally, Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said in his opening statement at Alvarado's trial on charges of second-degree murder before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr.
"He took off his canvas belt and wound it around her neck," he said. "He tightened it and tightened it until he choked the life out of her."
And then he left her there, half naked in the woods next to the Riverhead office of the Department of Motor Vehicles, Kurtzrock said.
Defense attorney Eileen Powers of Riverhead acknowledged that her client, a day laborer, caused Garcia's death, but disputed how it happened. She said he was also very drunk by the time El Sabor Latino closed early on May 6. Both had been buying drinks for each other and eventually bouncers asked them to leave, she said.
Powers said he went into the woods with Garcia and she ended up dead, but she said there is no proof that he raped her or that he had any intent to kill her. She said his admission to police came after detectives badgered him into going along with their version of events.
Kurtzrock said it's the only version that makes sense, and a videotape of the interrogation will show that Alvarado provided crucial details on his own.
And one detail he gave -- that Garcia was the sexual aggressor -- was absurd, Kurtzrock said.
"Yohanna was a lesbian," he said. "She had no interest in men."
The day after she was killed -- but before her body was even found -- Kurtzrock said Alvarado was already making admissions. He told jurors that witnesses will testify that at a deli the next day, he was nervous and told people there that he'd "hurt a girl."
Lourdes Alvarez, an employee at the DMV, testified that she discovered the body by accident when she parked her car in a side lot on May 7.
She said she was checking for poison ivy near her car when she glanced back and saw the body.
"I thought it was a mannequin or an inflatable doll," she said. "I couldn't believe it was human."
Garcia's sister, Miriam Garcia Mansilla, said it was hard to watch the start of the trial, particularly when photos of her sister's body were displayed on a screen.
"I want him to pay for what he did," she said. "I have only one sister."