Key witness absent from murder trial
Woman who was also stabbed during incident has returned to Guatemala
BRIDGEPORT — The state’s star witness in the Oscar “Ziggy” Hernandez murder trial will not come to court to testify.
Brenda Castellanos, who police said was stabbed multiple times after Hernandez allegedly stabbed his domestic partner to death, will not return from her native Guatemala, Lorelei Pesche, the manager of a local support organization for undocumented residents, told a Superior Court jury Thursday.
“She cannot return to this country and she doesn’t want to return,” Pesche said after speaking to Castellanos on the telephone.
Instead, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Corradino told Judge Kevin Russo he will present a video on Friday of Castellanos telling her story.
Hernandez’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Jonathan Demirjian, was clearly not happy with that prospect, and vigorously grilled Pesche on her last contact with Castellanos, who left this country in November.
Hernandez, an undocumented resident from El Salvador who was previously deported for assaulting another woman in Stamford, where he worked in a deli, is on trial charged with murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault and risk of injury to a child.
Witnesses have testified in the trial that after stabbing 26-year-old Nidia “Yubi” Gonzalez — who at various times has been referred to as his wife or girlfriend — and Castellanos in his Greenwood Street home, Hernandez fled with his 6-year-old daughter in the early morning of Feb. 24, 2017. He was captured following a high-speed chase in central Pennsylvania.
Tanya Marcano, an emergency medical technician for American Medical Response, testified Thursday that she talked to Castellanos as she was being treated in the ambulance.
She said Castellanos told her, “My friend’s boyfriend went crazy. ... I was stabbed with a kitchen knife.”
Dr. Gregory Vincent, an associate state medical examiner, testified that Gonzalez had one deep stab wound and six lesser stab wounds on the left side of her neck. He said the deep wound pierced her windpipe and her carotid artery, resulting in her death.