Trial begins for Merced County man accused of brutal homicide

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Disturbing new evidence emerged in the murder trial of a Merced County man accused of burning a woman to death.

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Prosecutors say Luis Valencia and three other men who are being tried separately -- killed Rosa Avina in October of 2007. Avina was found badly burned and barely alive in a Ballico field.

In court, the prosecution played an audiotape of Merced County detectives interviewing Avina in the ambulance before she was flown to a hospital where she died days later. On the tape, Avina groans in pain but still manages to answer a critical question.

"Can you tell me who you were with?"




Alvaro is the name of another suspect in the case. Attorneys for both sides declined to comment, but a family friend of the victim told Action News Avina did not deserve to die the way she did.

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