Jurors hear woman’s description of boyfriend’s murder

EVERETT — She had pulled into the parking lot of a south Everett apartment because her vehicle was overheating.

She saw her friend’s truck parked there. Maybe Carlos Lara-Ramos would give her a hand. She called him and he eventually came down to the parking lot. About 40 minutes later she would see a man shoot Lara-Ramos to death just feet from where she was.

“He pointed the gun at Carlos,” the woman told jurors Wednesday.

“He pulled the trigger.

“I saw Carlos going backwards.”

Jurors heard the woman’s screaming on a 911 call that captured the shooting and the last minutes of the victim’s life. Lara-Ramos had called 911, telling the emergency operator that a man was pointing a gun at him. He said it one more time before he was shot in the chest.

The 28-year-old can be heard on the recording moaning and gasping. The woman yelled for help, pleading with someone to call 911. She told jurors she rolled her friend over so he wouldn’t choke on his blood.

The woman was the first witness in the trial of Alexander Sandoval-Ortiz, 35. He is charged with first-degree murder for the June 16, 2015, homicide. The defendant is accused of arming himself with a stolen gun and lying in wait for the victim outside the Arterra Apartments on W. Casino Road.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Halley Hupp told jurors the defendant was jealous that his ex-girlfriend was dating Lara-Ramos. He also was angry that the couple duped him into thinking that Lara-Ramos had kidnapped the woman.

Sandoval-Ortiz was looking for the victim and waited for nearly an hour until he came downstairs, Hupp said. He confronted him. There was a scuffle and then he shot him. Hupp alleges the killing was premeditated.

Snohomish County public defender Caroline Mann told jurors that her client killed Lara-Ramos but the shooting was an accident. The gun discharged when the two men were shoving each other, she said.

“He didn’t go there to shoot” Lara-Ramos, Mann said. “It was an accident. He had no intention of shooting anyone.”

Jurors were told that Sandoval-Ortiz and his ex-girlfriend had broken up several weeks before the killing. She started seeing Lara-Ramos, whom she had dated in the past. She told police that Sandoval-Ortiz was jealous and had threatened to kill her and anyone she dated.

About a week before the homicide, the woman sold the defendant some fake drugs. He was upset with the woman and started texting her again. Jurors were told that the woman told Sandoval-Ortiz a series of lies, including allegations that Lara-Ramos robbed her. She later made up an elaborate story about Lara-Ramos assaulting and abducting her.

Sandoval-Ortiz was concerned and started looking for the woman. He later contacted police, showing them the woman’s text messages. Police tried to call the woman and attempted to locate her through cellphone records.

An officer finally reached the woman by phone. She told the officer she was OK. She said she’d made up the story. The officer relayed the message to Sandoval-Ortiz.

Mann told jurors that her client wanted to confront Lara-Ramos about the ruse. He happened upon him when he and another man drove to south Everett to sell a gun.

The woman who witnessed the shooting told jurors Thursday that the men were about 5 inches apart at the time of the shooting. She also testified that Sandoval-Ortiz grabbed the gun from his waistband and pointed it at her friend.

A ballistics expert is expected to testify that the gun was fired at least 9 inches from the victim, Hupp said.

“It was not a contact shot,” he said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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