LAWTON, Okla._A forensic pathologist testified today that the first gunshot fired into Ervin Manigault's chest was fatal, causing internal bleeding that filled his airways with blood.
That testimony was only part of the state's case in day two of the second degree murder trial of Jimmy Nazario Jr. Nazario is accused of shooting Manigault to death outside a west Lawton apartment complex back in 2011 after Manigault confronted him about graffiti on the apartment complex. The defense continues to claim that Nazario was forced to fire the shots in act of self-defense.
Two shots were fired and two projectiles were recovered from Manigault's body and one shell casing was found at the scene. All were key pieces of evidence presented Tuesday in court by the state, especially since the ammunition is said to match a box of bullets found during a search of Nazario's apartment. The evidence paired along with police and witness testimonies painted a picture for the jury of the murder and the investigation that followed.
The jury was taken back through what happened on December 2nd, 2011 by the final two people to witness it firsthand. One of men walking with Nazario that night, Albert Dutchover, took the stand first followed by the last person to speak to Ervin Manigault, his best friend Kenesha Plumber. Finding it hard to speak through her tears at times, Plumber described the last moments before Manigault confronted Nazario.
She told the jury that Manigault was on the phone with a friend named Kevin, who encouraged him to go back to his apartment but instead Manigault confronted Nazario in what she described as a calm manner, saying that "everything happened so fast."
After the shots were fired she described running a path parallel to Manigault as he made his way back to his apartment. He held onto her in his last moments before he fainted, falling face first onto the ground. The Lawton Police Department's crime scene investigator testified about his findings at the crime scene and in the searches of both the victim and suspect's apartments. But the key piece of evidence, the gun, was never found.
Detective Roberto Peralta testified that the scene was "chaos." From the start he had limited suspect descriptions but he said his break came when Nazario's then girlfriend, Priscilla Munoz, admitted to going to Lowe's that night; revealing the other suspects. Munoz would also eventually confess to Peralta that Nazario was in fact the shooter.
The defense placed special emphasis today on the steak knife recovered from Manigault's pocket and possible drug paraphernalia pictured in a photo of the victim's bedroom inside his mother's apartment. The lawyer also questioned police on whether they had evidence to prove the shooting was an act of revenge for a friend of Manigault's that Nazario had assaulted only days before. The state rested their case Tuesday after the testimony from the forensic pathologist from the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's office.
The trial will resume Wednesday with the defense.