Morales took the stand
in his own defense, maintaining he had nothing to do with his
girlfriend’s murder, while speaking through a Spanish-English
interpreter. No gun or knife was ever found and there were no
signs of forced entry to their home.
DNA evidence became a
central part of the prosecution’s case.
Morales’ DNA was found on her hands, fingernails, and neck, as
well as his bodily fluids inside his girlfriend. No other DNA
besides his was ever discovered on the victim’s body.
Members of Ms.
Guerrero’s family kept vigil in the front row throughout the
trial, seen crying outside the courtroom shortly after the jury
verdict was read.
maintained throughout the trial that the victim was preparing to
leave an abusive relationship with Morales, even calling a
friend in Kentucky to see if she could stay with him. She later
changed her mind. But detectives found a large amount of cash
and important documents in her purse during the murder
The victim’s sister, Vanesa
took the stand and spoke of Ms. Silgüero Guerrero’s desire to
leave Morales, citing a conversation the two sisters had about
how Morales had grabbed her hair during an argument just days
before she died and that the incident fueled a long-held desire
to escape the relationship.
and police officers testified Morales showed little emotion
right after his girlfriend’s murder, even staying in the home
three straight nights following her death. Prosecutors told the
jury Morales was the beneficiary of a $100,000 life insurance
policy on the murder victim that he tried to claim shortly after
Morales will be
sentenced Monday, December 13 before Judge Eric Marks.
Morales’ son was convicted last summer of an obstruction of
justice charge and is serving a 30-month prison sentence. He
initially denied any knowledge of the homicide. But prosecutors
maintained during the trial he was the one who discovered the
victim’s body. Bryan Morales Rivero changed his story when
homicide detectives brought father and son back for another
round of interviews months after the murder.