'Everything happened so fast': Lake County man testifies during his murder trial
Armando Trejo told the Lake County jury at his murder trial Thursday that "everything happened so fast" and "I couldn't think clearly" the night he repeatedly struck his wife and stepson with an aluminum bat.
However, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Eric Kalata derided the testimony, and said the 50-year-old Beach Park man's mind was clear enough to bludgeon 43-year-old Lailani Uy Trejo, stop swinging the bat after accidentally hitting his mother, then attack 14-year-old Patrick K. Cruz Uy.
Trejo faces life in prison if found guilty on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery at the trial in front of Judge James Booras. Testimony is expected to continue Friday.
Trejo, who was called to testify by defense attorney Michael Ettinger, said he twice saw his wife molest her son in the basement apartment the three shared 10200 block of West Bairstow Avenue about 10 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2015.
The first time, he said, his wife told him she had to use the bathroom, but he found her sexually abusing the boy over his clothes in the area where the teen was sleeping.
He brought his wife back to bed and they argued quietly before he fell asleep, Trejo testified.
A little while later, Trejo said, his wife said she had to use the bathroom, but he again found her sexually abusing the teen. He brought her back to their room, but rather than arguing, he "got a baseball bat from the laundry room" to try "to scare her," he said.
"I couldn't think," Trejo told the jury. "I was so upset."
He struck her several times, then went to the washroom to compose himself, he testified.
The attack then moved upstairs where he beat her to death, Trejo testified. He said his mother tried to get between the couple, and Trejo hit her "once on accident."
When his stepson tried to intervene, Trejo testified, he hit the boy because "I didn't know what his motive was."
Trejo repeatedly told the jury "everything happened so fast," and that he "had a headache" during the attacks.
During his cross-examination, Kalata stressed Lailani became a "target" of Trejo's rampage. He also said Trejo didn't call police or move Patrick Uy to another room after the teen was allegedly abused.
He poked fun at Trejo's bathroom stop during the attack, calling it "a potty break."
Defense attorneys have argued throughout the three-day trial that Trejo should face second-degree murder because he reacted with "sudden and intense passion" after seeing Lailani Uy Trejo sexually abusing her son. Prosecutors have said the attack was sparked because Lailani Uy Trejo discovered her husband's infidelity and was planning to leave him.
Armando Trejo denied that claim during his testimony.
If found guilty of first-degree murder, he would be sentenced to life in prison. Second-degree murder has a prison sentence of four to 20 years, authorities said.
He remains held in the Lake County jail on $5 million bail since his arrest.