EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The murder trial continued Thursday in the case against Fernando Alarcon, accused of killing and decapitating his mother, Graciela Acosta-Licon, in 2017 at her West El Paso apartment.

As KTSM previously reported, Licon was found dead and beheaded on April 20, 2017, in her apartment on the 5600 block of Suncrest after police did a welfare check requested by the family who said they were unable to get ahold of Licon for several days.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: West El Paso murder and decapitation trial begins

In 2017, The El Paso County Medical Examiner ruled Licon’s death as homicide by unspecified means, ultimately ruling that she could not determine whether she had been killed before or after her son, allegedly beheaded her.

On Thursday, the focus was on a notebook state prosecutors wanted to admit as evidence.

During voir dire or the preliminary examination of a witness outside of the jury, attorneys and Judge Patrick Garcia of the 384th District Court, discussed a notebook retrieved from investigators as evidence in 2017 from the crime scene.

State prosecutors believe the notebook to belong to the defendant.

They called the defendant’s brother and sister in to testify if they recognize the handwriting as Alarcon’s.

Fernando Alarcon (center) with his defense team

Defense attorneys argued time could be a factor in the sibling’s recognition of the handwriting and also questioned if they could recognize their brother’s handwriting without preparation or being told the notebook belonged to him.

The defendant’s sister, Mariana Vargas, said she kept a case of her mother’s belongings which included all their old school work, art and poems she kept growing up. She said she had a poem her brother, the defendant, wrote their mother as children, saying that’s how she knew his handwriting.

She also testified police in 2017 asked her to look at the notebook when they spoke with her. She said she did not recognize it until they asked her to read one page, which she said made her start crying.

She said once she read it, she knew it was her brother’s handwriting.

Judge Garcia asked Vargas if she could confidently and independently identify the handwriting without guessing or anyone influencing her to believe it was her brother’s, in which she responded “yes.”

Once the witnesses were asked to stand down and leave the courtroom, Judge Garcia told attorneys:

“The sister seems to believe she recognizes the writing as her brother’s–whether the recognition is tainted by police suggestion—that’s something I need to resolve.”

At this time, it is unknown what the contents of the notebook include, whether it is absolutely the defendant who wrote in it and if Judge Garcia will allow the notebook in court as evidence when the trial resumes on Friday.

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