EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The trial of Bernard Christmann began in the 243rd District Court at the El Paso County Courthouse on Monday, Aug. 28. Christmann is accused of killing Southwest Airlines employee Juan Anzaldo, who had a relationship with Christmann’s estranged wife.
Prosecutors John Briggs and Michelle Hill are representing the state in this case. For Christmann’s defense he is represented by Brock Benjamin and Bryan Herrera.
Opening statements began with the prosecution. Briggs attempted to establish to the jury the nature of Christmann’s relationship with his wife. He explained that the couple was estranged to point where Christmann had moved out of their home.
Christmann did move back after a year before the night Anzaldo was killed. At the end of Briggs’ presentation, he finished with a statement to the jury saying:
“We will hopefully prove to you all that he (Christmann) is guilty of murder.”
The defense then began with their opening statement given by Benjamin. Benjamin also described Christmann’s relationship with his wife saying he was a family man who helped around the home and provided for the family.
Benjamin then told the jury about the state’s plan to present a phone call from Anzaldo to a another Southwest employee, yelling for help about a man who came up behind them. Benjamin said that while they can prove the call was made, they cannot prove who the man was.
The first witness — Dr. Mario Rascon, El Paso County’s chief medical examiner — then took the stand. Rascon testified that Anzaldo’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. He said he documented several lacerations, or tears, to the right side of his skull in the autopsy report.
In graphic photos presented to the courtroom, it was shown just how severe Anzaldo’s injuries were. Rascon said on the stand that he found hemorrhaging in Anzaldo’s brain due to the force used the night he was killed.
He then said that out of the four regions of the skull, Anzaldo had fractures in three of them.
Three more witnesses testified Monday. Debbie Lawrence, the general manager of the Wyndham hotel, and Willie Perez, who is the security manager at the El Paso International Airport, testified that they provided surveillance video from the parking lot of the hotel and the airport to the El Paso Police Department.
Officer Wilbur Castillo also was the last one to take the stand as he was the officer who executed the search warrant for Christmann’s vehicle.
The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.