By Angie Madrid
RIVERSIDE, CA— Three witness testimonies were heard here in Riverside County Superior Court Tuesday in the trial of Francisco Anthony Yzarrar, charged with allegedly shooting and killing a 21-year-old man at a gas station with a un Feb. 2.
Yzarrar has prior felony convictions, and is eligible for capital punishment—the death penalty—if he is convicted.
As the trial started, Deputy District Attorney Jay Kiel called the ARCO gas station worker on site who called the police after the incident.
The witness recalled being outside the station, throwing the trash away, when he heard a “loud bang” and called police after seeing the body of the victim on the floor.
Trying to assist the witness’s recollection, DDA Kiel played the recording of the 911 phone call made by the witness.
“He took off on a vehicle. He had tattoos all over his face and a bald head. He [the victim] is unresponsive, in front of pump number 5,” exclaimed the witness when explaining the incident to the operator.
The witness went further to explain that the assailant had parked his silver car at the station for around 30 minutes before the incident. The witness continued, formally identifying the defendant in court as the man he had described during the phone call.
During the testimony, Judge Matthew Perantoni allowed DDA Kiel to present the surveillance video footage taken from the gas station.
After Kiel’s questioning, Public Defender Melissa Hale cross examined the witness. She asked the witness, “When you spoke to the 911 operator, you didn’t remember what the person you saw was wearing, you recall that?”
The witness responded, explained, “I remember being in a panic, yes.”
PD Hale asked the witness if he remembered telling the investigators that he had schizophrenia. The witness confirmed that he did have schizophrenia and took medication, but the only side effects he experienced from the medication was drowsiness and fatigue.
Following the first witness testimony, DDA Kiel called a second witness, a bystander who remained in her car when the altercation occurred.
The second witness recalled being in the passenger seat while her brother was pumping gas when she noticed two men talking outside by the gas pump. She described one of the men wearing a grey sweatshirt and having tattoos on his face and neck.
The witness explained she did not hear the discussion between the men, but heard when the gun was shot. “I turned away. I did not want to see that. I heard it,” explained the witness.
Despite the witness being at the scene of the crime, she recalled only seeing the defendant as he entered his vehicle and left the scene.
PD Hale asked, “Now when District Attorney showed you the photo item you went through, you said guy number three looked most like the guy [Garcia]?” The witness confirmed, and she continued to explain that she did not fully see the man’s tattoos the day of the incident.
“If I didn’t see this picture, I probably would have not identified him,” stated the witness.
As the trial came to its end for the day, DDA Kiel called Sergeant Rico Garcia, a master investigator in the Riverside County homicide unit.
Kiel asked Garcia what evidence the investigators had collected that night. Garcia informed that his team had numbered and collected a shell casing, a single cigarette butt, a sunflower seed shell, and a sample of bodily fluid.
Garcia ended his testimony, further explaining the other pictures his team collected during the crime scene.
The trial is set to continue throughout the week.