Murder trial opens with grisly photos
BRIDGEPORT — Oscar “Ziggy” Hernandez shed no tears for his murdered wife.
He stared unemotionally at the projected photograph of her on a movie screen in court Wednesday — lying on her stomach in a large pool of blood.
The tears came later, when Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Corradino projected a posed photograph of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Aylin. He quickly wiped them away with his right hand.
Testimony opened Wednesday morning in the trial of the Stamford sandwich maker accused of fatally stabbing his wife and seriously wounding her best friend in their small basement apartment here before fleeing the state with Aylin.
Hernandez is charged with murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault and risk of injury to a child.
Police officer Phillip Norris was the first to walk in upon the crime scene that early morning on Feb. 24, 2017.
It was shortly before 3 a.m. when Norris, working the graveyard shift, responded to a call of “two parties down” at a home on Greenwood Street.
When he arrived at the tidy yellow cape, Norris testified, he was directed by the landlord, Jose Martinez, to the rear door entrance to the basement apartment.
As Norris walked down the short stairs to the apartment, he came upon the grisly tableau.
“Two females were lying on the floor and had pretty bad injuries,” he said.
Corradino then projected photos from the scene for the jury. One showed the wife, 26-year-old Nidia “Yubi” Gonzalez, lying on her stomach in a pool of blood, a kitchen knife by her right side.
Another photograph showed a blood-soaked area of the small apartment where Gonzalez’s friend, Brenda, had lain before she was taken away by medical personnel. She survived her wounds and is expected to testify before the 12-member jury on Thursday.
Told by the landlord that Hernandez and the couple’s daughter had also lived in the apartment, Norris testified that he picked up a photograph of the girl so that the police department could put out an Amber Alert for her.
Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Derek Pacella testified that later on Feb. 24, he had been sitting at his desk at the station in central Pennsylvania when he got the Amber Alert for Hernandez and the girl.
He said he next received information that Hernandez’s cell phone had been tracked to Altoona.
Pacella said he got into his car and drove out to Interstate 99 and parked in a cutoff between the two sides of the highway. He said after about an hour, he was about to give up when Hernandez’s grey Hyundai sedan drove by followed by another trooper.
“We lit him up and I could see a child’s head in the back seat,” Pacella testified.
He said Hernandez initially pulled over — and while officers were getting out, the Hyndai took off.
“He accelerated faster and faster and we were at 127 miles per hour,” Pacella said.
The pursuit went about five miles before Hernandez ran into the back of a slow-moving tractor trailer.
Pacella said the impact knocked Hernandez unconscious. The girl was crying in the backseat. As troopers pulled Hernandez out of the driver’s seat, the car shot forward. Pacella said he dove in, pushing the brake pedal down with his hand.
When he turned to the girl, he said she jumped into his arms.
“Hernandez was bleeding on the road and to distract her from seeing that, I let her wear my hat,” Pacella said.
Testimony continues Thursday morning.