Testimony wraps up in Ponce-Rocha murder trial - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Testimony wraps up in Ponce-Rocha murder trial


  By Heather Sawaski - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- The last day of testimony in the murder trial for Raul Ponce-Rocha centered on one person who never stepped foot in the courtroom, Sergio Juarez. Ponce-Rocha testified Tuesday, he and Sergio were inside Breanna Schneller's apartment the morning of her murder, but Breanna was still alive when Ponce-Rocha left alone.

On the stand Wednesday, two defense witnesses who testified to working with Sergio at Polywood Fabrication in Wausau around May 2, 2009--the day Breanna was murdered. Both say after her death Sergio appeared different. They say he was nervous.


"Did Sergio look different after murder?" asked Defense Attorney Mike Moran.

 "Yes," explained Lucia Pintor Bailon. "He looked worried as if something was happening to him."

Sergio's ex-girlfriend told the jury she even saw him the night of May 2nd. She said he was acting strange and had a large scratch on his neck.

"He was covering his neck," explained Whitney Mason. "He couldn't look at with me with a straight face, and there was no eye contact."

Prosecutors said they tried to locate Sergio, but he is unavailable to testify in this case. Work records from Polywood Fabrication show Sergio Juarez left his job on May 21st 2009.

On rebuttal, prosecutors called to the stand the manager of a tax service in Madison. He had records showing Sergio Juarez was in Madison on the day of the murder filing his taxes.


"Files indicate Sergio was in Madison at your business on May 2, 2009?" asked District Attorney Ken Heimerman. "Yes," answered Saul Simental-Cruz.

 Documents place Sergio at the business signing papers around 3:00pm. The manager testified to it taking about 45 minutes average for an agent to prepare the paperwork.

If you remember, police believe Breanna Schneller was murdered in Wausau sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 that morning. 

In rebuttal, the prosecution's DNA expert from the state crime lab testified, once again, to finding Ponce-Rocha's DNA underneath one of Breanna's right fingernails.

Thursday morning, both sides will give their closing arguments. Then the case heads to the jury.


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