The trial of a man accused of stabbing his girlfriend and killing her two young sons began Monday with a defense attorney who acknowledged the accused was responsible for the woman’s murder but denied he was responsible responsible for the deaths of the two boys.
The triple murder trial of Shazer Fernando Limas, who was living in Orange at the time of the alleged murders, comes more than a decade after the body of his girlfriend – 31-year-old Arlet Hernandez Contreras – was found in a Los Angeles County gutter. The couple’s children – 16-month-old Fernando Hernandez Limas and 3-month-old Emanuel Hernandez Limas – have never been found, although Limas has been charged with her killing.
Assistant District Attorney Mena Guirguis began his opening statement before an Orange County Superior Court jury with alleged comments Limas, now 42, made about Contreras to people he knew, including “I hate her. I wish she hadn’t had those kids” and “Arlet is ruining my life. I wish she was gone.”
Assistant Defense Attorney Michael Hill countered by telling the jury that Contreras had previously threatened to hurt herself or her children, and claimed that Limas herself suffered what appeared to be stab wounds to her hands on the day of Contreras’ death.
Both attorneys described Limas as a womanizer who regularly cheated on the women in his life. Prosecutors said Limas lied to women he knew, including his then-girlfriend, about having children. And the defense attorney said Limas made it clear to Contreras that he didn’t want to be with her.
The attorneys both also acknowledged that if Limas didn’t want to see them, Contreras would show up to confront him or the women he was dating. The defense attorney described her as “increasingly disturbed and obsessed” with both Limas’ infidelity and her desire to stay with him.
On April 12, 2012, Contreras took the two boys to an apartment Limas rented in a large complex in Orange. An argument reportedly ensued, the police came and Contreras left, only to return later in the night after Limas called them.
The prosecutor said Limas killed Contreras and his boys sometime on April 13 or 14. On the night of the 14th, he called his then-girlfriend and told her he injured his hands during an argument with friends, the prosecutor said. The girlfriend persuaded him to seek medical treatment, and Limas checked into a hospital under someone else’s name, the prosecutor added.
Guirguis claimed that from April 14 to April 24, Limas allowed Contreras’ body to rot in a balcony cabinet. Prosecutors did not say what happened to the bodies of the two boys.
“The defendant lives his life as if nothing happened,” Guirguis said. “He goes to dinner, rents limousines, goes to dance clubs, goes improv, goes to birthday parties, invites some friends over.”
Limas rearranged some furniture to cover up blood in his apartment, the prosecutor said, and hired a friend to try to clean up the stains. Other residents later reported he threw away children’s clothes, a high chair and a stroller.
Contreras’ mother received text messages from her daughter’s phone claiming that she had suddenly gone on vacation. The prosecutor said it was Limas who sent those messages after the alleged killings.
On April 24, prosecutors said, Limas at least loaded Contreras’ body into a large chest and took it to a U-Haul his friend rented to haul furniture. He dumped her body — covered in plastic and a comforter — in an industrial area in Los Angeles County, the prosecutor said. Then, the prosecutor added, GPS tracking data showed Lima’s drive into the mountains.
The next day, workers in La Puente discovered Contreras’ body. An autopsy revealed she sustained 48 stab wounds and due to decomposition, authorities had to use her fingerprints to identify her.
On April 28, Limas apparently canceled its lease at the Orange apartment complex and quickly moved out without notice to management. When workers came in to prepare the unit for the next tenant, they were greeted by a foul odor, large bleach stains, spattered blood on the walls and ceiling, and pools of blood under the carpet.
A few days later, Limas police took custody after a high-speed chase on the 405 and 5 freeways that ended when the police cars used a spike strip. He had Contreras’ phone with him at the time of his arrest, prosecutors said.
When a friend who was visiting Limas in prison later asked about the boys, Limas replied, “They are safe with God,” the prosecutor said.
“Nobody has seen them or heard of them in the last ten and a half years,” Guirguis told jurors, noting that the boys would be 10 and 11 years old today.
Limas’ lawyer acknowledged that the evidence clearly shows that Contreras died in the apartment.
“Mr. Limas is responsible for the death of Arlet Contreras, we’re telling you that from the start of this case,” Hill told jurors. “Mr. Limas did not kill his children or harm them in any way.”
The wounds Limas himself sustained appeared defensive, his attorney said, like he’d grabbed an assault knife. The defense attorney said Contreras previously threatened to kill herself or her children.
“She ultimately went through with those threats and it resulted in her own death,” Hill said.
The defense attorney did not specify what he believes happened to the two boys. He said Lima’s actions after Contreras’ death showed that he had not planned her assassination.
“His actions are evidence of a man in reaction mode,” Hill said.
If convicted on the charges he faces, Limas faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/14/oc-man-admits-killing-girlfriend-attorney-says-but-denies-killing-his-2-boys/ OC man admits killing girlfriend, says attorney but denies killing his 2 boys – Orange County Register