Jury deliberates in murder-for-hire trial of alleged hitman
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston jury is deliberating the fate of a man accused of trying to kill Bellaire socialite Yvonne Stern. Prosecutors say Damian Flores was hired by Stern's husband and his mistress to kill her. But defense attorneys say police simply have the wrong man.
Prosecutor Justin Keiter railed against the defendant, Damian Flores.
"Damian Flores doesn't look the part. Damian Flores is the part," Keiter said.
Flores is accused of shooting Yvonne Stern in May of last year. Prosecutors say Flores was hired by Michelle Gaiser, the lover at the time of Stern's husband, Jeffrey Stern. On the stand this week, Gaiser admitted she paid Flores $15,000 as a down payment to kill Yvonne.
"He had the opportunity to not kill her," prosecutor Kari Allen told the jury. "But what did he do? He turned around, he bit his lip and he pulled the trigger."
The defense jumped on that point, telling the jury to remember Yvonne's own words. She testified this week saying the she saw the gun inches away from her face.
"I said you saw him clearly, yes sir. You saw his hands clearly, yes sir. Did you see any tattoos? No," defense attorney Sam Cammack recalled the courtroom exchange. "But it doesn't make sense in this case, because this man is tatted from head to toe."
However, the prosecution told the jury there is other evidence. Prosecutors pointed to cell phone records they say prove Flores was at the scene of the crime.
Keiter said, "You can say everyone is lying but cell phones don't."
Jurors asked to review the cell phone records of Michelle Gaiser. They deliberated from about 11am to 5pm on Thursday before the judge sent them home for the day. They will resume deliberations at 9am Friday. Flores is charged with attempted capital murder.
local, cynthia cisneros
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