BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – The opening speech began on Wednesday in a gruesome murder trial. Nicholas Quintana, 22, is charged with the death of Bakersfield attorney Marcos Vargas, who was found bloodied and naked outside the Golden Valley Luxury Apartments in November 2017.
Attorney Eric Smith set out the scene during his opening speech with crime scene photos showing the cuts on Vargas’ body when he was found. Smith stated that some cuts on his neck were two inches deep.
Smith also called his first two witnesses to the booth, Carol Bracy and Claudia Lopez, both Vargas employees at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance. Both women described Vargas as a happy person who was loved in the office.
“He was one of my closest friends in the office,” said Lopez.
Describing working with Vargas in the domestic violence department at the GBLA, Lopez said they bonded through their mutual experience as Hispanic lawyers. While describing Vargas as a happy person, she noted that he had “suffered a lot” in his early life. She said these experiences only increased his excitement and determination in his work.
“He just wanted to be the best lawyer he could,” she said.
Meanwhile, the rest of Wednesday’s testimony sounded like something out of a horror movie. Several Bakersfield Police Department officers were called on the booth to describe the scene they saw the night Vargas was killed.
Varga’s body was discovered by a neighbor on the night of November 28, 2017.
BPD officer Charles Jordan, who was one of the first at the scene that evening, testified that when he arrived when he saw the body, the amount of blood at the scene meant that he wondered if there was another victim or the suspect had been injured.
Aaron Brown of the Bakersfield Police Department testified and described a large amount of blood throughout the scene, which stretched from inside the apartment to the outside near the parking lot. Brown described footprints that were photographed in the blood spatter.
At the home, witnesses described photos taken on site showing pools of blood throughout the home and on the furniture.
Court documents show that investigators allegedly found text messages between Quintana and his girlfriend, discussed the case in which the news was published, and joked that the size described did not suit his position.
The documents also show that Vargas had conversations with several men on the app and invited them to come to his apartment to have sex. One of those people was Quintana.
Quintana’s cell phone records show he was in the area around the same time the murder occurred. His cell phone was then tracked to Long Beach, near Vargas’ cell phone.