Testimony in the trial for a former Lompoc Police informant accused of killing his girlfriend in 2012 focused Friday on his alleged prior domestic abuse history and his cellphone activity the night Selina Bustos died.
The informant is defendant Eduardo Robles Robles, 29, whom prosecutors contend fled to Mexico after allegedly killing Bustos, 30, in his Lompoc home June 15, 2012.
Both the prosecution and defense in opening statements said Robles had been working as a Lompoc Police informant since 2009, although their claims about the alleged crime differ.
The prosecution claims Robles took Bustos' phone with him as he and a friend drove through Lompoc, Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara and sent a text message to his mother with the message "Mom, I'm on my way," after Bustos was dead.
The defense maintains that someone else held the knife that stabbed Bustos 30 times and that Robles fled the country because he feared for his own safety. The defense attorney also claims evidence shows Robles only had his cellphone while traveling.
On Friday, Robles' former girlfriend Brianda Torres testified under Deputy District Attorney Anne Nudson’s questioning that she dated the defendant for about a year in 2009 and 2010.
The relationship seemed normal at first, she said, describing Robles “as a gentleman,” but as time went on, he became controlling, dependent and possessive, “and then things got really scary,” she testified.
Torres claimed she tried to break up with Robles multiples times but returned to the relationship because he’d threatened to send videos of the two having sex to all of her friends and family, which he did after another fight.
Later, Robles began calling her 10 to 15 times a day, threatened to kill her, and told her he’d put a bomb under her mother’s car, according to Torres' testimony.
During defense attorney Sydney Bennett’s cross-examination, the attorney focused on the reasons Torres didn't disclose the physical abuse to police the first time she reported him for disseminating their sex tape, and again when she applied for a restraining order.
Projecting a photo of the restraining order in Judge Gustavo Lavayen’s courtroom for jurors to see, Bennett pointed out one of the pages where it asks the applicant to disclose any injuries they might have sustained.
“It says right here, ‘No injuries occurred.’ Is that correct?” Bennett asked.
Torres admitted that was true.
“Also, nowhere in this packet did you indicate that Mr. Robles threatened to kill you,” Bennett pointed out. “And you never mentioned that he threatened to put a bomb in your mother’s car.”
“No, but I made multiple police reports that he did all those things,” Torres testified.
Also on Friday, Lompoc Sgt. Kevin Martin testified about Robles' and Bustos' cellphone activity, drawing on information about both their call records, and cell tower range locations.
According to data he presented, both their phones remained together as the person in possession of the phones traveled through Lompoc, Santa Ynez Valley, Cachuma Lake and Santa Barbara after Bustos was dead.
On June 15, 2012, the night Bustos died, she and Robles were texting all day from 9:58 a.m. to 8:08 p.m. and made plans to go out that night, according to Martin.
"Then, we believe the murder occurred sometime between 8:08 p.m. and 9:58 p.m.," Martin testified.
No activity was detected on either phone until Robles' phone began "lighting up" about 10:02 p.m., he noted. A caller using that phone then made over 20 different phone calls to at least four people, according to records.
From 10 to 11:20 p.m., both Robles' and Bustos' phones were located in the city of Lompoc, with the user sending texts to different people, according to cellphone tower GPS network locations. Eventually, both phones were detected moving through Lompoc, Buellton then down to the Cachuma Lake area, then Solvang, where Robles reportedly withdrew cash out of an ATM.
At 11:20 p.m., when their devices were detected near Cachuma Lake, a text was sent from Bustos' phone to her mother, saying that she was leaving Robles' aunt's home.
"But at this point, Selina's already been killed, correct?" Nudson asked.
Martin confirmed that was the case.
At 12:41 a.m., a text from Robles' phone to Lompoc Police Officer David Garcia read, "'Your rat is dead,'" Martin testified.
Testimony resumes Monday morning.