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Old 02-27-2003, 03:41 PM
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Default Murder case may go to jury today

A Bexar County jury could begin deliberations today in the capital murder
trial of Santos Minjarez, one of three people accused of raping and
killing Rosa Maria Rosado nearly two years ago.

Rosado, 37, a mother of two, was abducted from a bus stop in her Southwest
Side neighborhood in April 2001. She was raped and then strangled at a
West Side motel. Her body was found a week later in a shallow grave near
the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Three friends, Minjarez, Ramon Hernandez, and Asel Abdygapparova, were
arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with Rosado's
death.

A jury convicted Hernandez, 30, of that charge in October 2002 and
sentenced him to death. Abdygapparova, 28, of Kazakhstan, awaits trial.

If convicted of the charge, Minjarez, 31, will be eligible for the death
penalty.

But defense attorneys argue that Minjarez had nothing to do with Rosado's
abduction and that Hernandez alone was responsible for her death.

Wednesday, prosecutors presented hair samples taken from a sweater,
believed to be Hernandez's, that they said connect Hernandez and Minjarez
to Rosado.

Before resting their case, prosecutors say they plan to show that DNA in
bodily fluids taken from the motel carpet where Rosado was killed and
raped matches Minjarez's genetic profile.

While there is no evidence Minjarez strangled Rosado, prosecutors are
hoping jurors will agree that he is as responsible as Hernandez for her
death.

In a written statement to police, Minjarez admitted raping Rosado but said
it was Hernandez who killed her.

Hernandez, a registered sex offender, has been called a serial killer by
authorities. DNA evidence linked him the rape and strangulation of two
other victims, Sarah Gonzales, 13, and Pricilla Almares, 12, who were
kidnapped in December 1994 from the same neighborhood where Rosado
disappeared.

Rosado's family members, who were present in the courtroom, said they hope
all three of the accused get the death penalty.

"They're all as guilty," said Rosado's sister Aurora Aguilar, 38.

--------

Source : San Antonio Express-News
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