Elisabeth Cartegena was brought to tears before jurors Tuesday morning. She was the first witness to take the stand in the trial of the man accused of killing her sister.
Manuel Nelson Flores-Carrasco, 25, has been charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of Norma Gomez, 39.
Police found her body on a stairway at the Basswood Manor apartments in Lewisville on the evening of Aug. 30, 2012. Her 16-year-old son, Osman Matute-Gomez, who had been stabbed in the chest, was discovered next to her.
Opening arguments in Flores-Carrasco’s capital murder trial began Tuesday before Judge Bruce McFarling in the 362nd District Court at the Denton County Courthouse.
Prosecutor Michael Graves told jurors that the stabbing death was the ultimate result of a confrontation between Gomez and Flores-Carrasco earlier that day in the apartment that they shared with her 16-year-old son.
“Manuel and Norma got into an argument over [what she was going to make for his] lunch,” Graves said. Graves said Flores-Carrasco got mad after she told him to “fix your own lunch” and threatened to kill her then and there.
“That’s when he first pulled out a knife, held it to her throat and said he would kill her,” Graves said.
Graves told the jury that Gomez was shaken by the confrontation and reported the incident to a traffic officer she saw at a nearby school.
After the traffic officer reported the incident, a Lewisville police officer advised Gomez to change her locks and remove Flores-Carrasco from the apartment lease, which listed him as an occupant.
Gomez reportedly did so, the prosecutor said.
The officer, Graves told jurors Tuesday morning, later told Flores-Carrasco not to come back to the apartment.
Prosecutors said the stabbing death that evening occurred during an attempted burglary or during some act of retaliation for an earlier confrontation.
Derek Adame, court-appointed defense attorney, told jurors to not take the state’s word for what happened.
“They did not get into a fight over what she was making him for lunch — she was jealous of him talking to a neighbor that was closer to his age the night before,” he said.
Flores-Carrasco was seen by Gomez chatting with another woman the night before the stabbing, Adame said.
“Gomez, who was much older than him, was always jealous,” the defense attorney said.
Adame told jurors she had him as a boyfriend, or common-law husband, because she liked “wearing the pants” and bossing him around.
Her son, Matute-Gomez, did not like his mom’s younger boyfriend and would always side with her during their arguments.
“Evidence will show you there was no burglary because you can’t break into your own home, and no retaliation,” Adame said.
In addition to a charge of capital murder, Flores-Carrasco is facing two aggravated assault charges.
The state is not seeking the death penalty. If found guilty, Flores-Carrasco could face life in prison.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.