Two months passed before Toledo police arrested the big guy with tattoos on his head who a detective said stood out among those fighting in a bar where a woman was fatally stabbed.
Toledo Police Det. William Goodlet told a jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court today that it took that long to identify and find Hector Alvarado, Jr., 40, of 637 Sterling St., who ultimately would be charged with the Jan. 1 murder of Christina Henderson, 23, and the felonious assault of her fiancé, Stacey Bowen, 26.
Still, while investigators tracked Alvarado’s movements at the New Year's Eve party at the South Beach Bar and Grill on Alexis Road through surveillance video, defense attorney John Thebes challenged Detective Goodlet to show the jury just where Alvarado can be seen stabbing Ms. Henderson in the neck or cutting Mr. Bowen on the left arm.
While Detective Goodlet said it was “some time at 2:02 [a.m.] in that bar,” there are no images that show the assault. While Ms. Henderson can be seen holding her hand to her neck inside the bar, blood is not immediately apparent.
Mr. Thebes questioned how that could be when Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, the deputy Lucas County coroner who conducted an autopsy on Ms. Henderson, testified that with the type of wound she sustained, the bleeding would be instant and severe.
Dismissing much of the defense’s theory that someone else – perhaps even some still-unidentified person seen on the video – may have stabbed the victims, Detective Goodlet told the jury that police focused on Alvarado after a witness came forward and told him “a large Hispanic male” at the bar was responsible. That witness, Charles Wells, who testified Wednesday, did not know Alvarado’s name but pointed him out on the tape and recalled his distinctive tattoos, the detective said.
Judge Frederick McDonald asked Alvarado to stand before the jury so that they could see his tattoos – among them, the word “Mexican” on one side of his skull and the word “Cholo,” a slang word for a Mexican gang member, on the other side.
While Alvarado did not take the stand in his defense, the jury listened to an hour-long interview he had with detectives Feb. 28. In it, he talked about the fight that broke out that night, but denied having a knife or being involved in the assault that led to Ms. Henderson’s death.
He states that he had “never, ever seen her face” and did not recall seeing the victim anywhere near him at the bar that night, even though the video shows the two of them in the same area where Mr. Bowen is involved in the fighting.
“I just can't remember her or any female being that close to me,” he says, adding that it's not his style to hurt women.
"I’m sorry she lost her life,” he says later. “I didn’t want to be anywhere around no type of ... like that.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.