Son gives testimony in mother's murder trial: "I think my mom is dead"
AUSTIN, Texas - Shawn Gant-Benalcazar showed little emotion when he came face to face with the son of the woman he allegedly stabbed to death.
Joe Hargis who is a navy officer was the first to testify Monday. He said he was about to be deployed in late 2014 and was in town to visit his mom, Kathy Blair. Hargis told the jury how, after being out with friends, she didn’t respond to his text messages and he went to her house to check on her.
"I walked in, called for her, no answer walked back. I remember looking into her room and I remember seeing a lot of red, a lot of red on the bed," said Hargis.
The jury saw pictures of stains on a pillow. Hargis said he initially thought his mom had spilled a glass of wine. Moments later he found her body on the floor between the bed and a wall.
"And I just remember screaming and yelling ... I just remember yelling, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god and just yelling," said Hargis.
Blair was stabbed in the neck. Hargis testified he ran out of the house got a cell phone and called 911.
Here's part of that call:
Hargis: "I think my mom is dead."
911 Operator: "Is she breathing?
911 Operator: "Is anyone there to help you?
Prosecutors say Blair knew her murderer, because he had been to the Northwest Austin home she leased on several occasions. Gant Benalcazar according to investigators had been to Blair’s home to help a friend, Tim Parlin, to do landscaping work. James Willett, who owns the house, didn’t want his face shown Monday while testifying about why he ended up firing Parlin.
"He had hired an assistant ... and when I became aware that he hired an assistant, I was extremely upset because I didn’t say anything about that, I don’t know who the other person was, I don’t know why he was over in Kathy's backyard and apparently there, from what I heard, they were mostly screwing around back there," said Willett.
Investigators say the two men after being fired came back to burglarize the home and that jewelry belonging to Blair was recovered.
"There is no question this is a horrible horrible crime," said Defense attorney Ariel Payan.
But in opening statements defense attorney's argued detectives made critical errors in getting Gant Benalcazar to confess that he stabbed Blair when she lunged at him.
"This case is about our rights as citizens, our rights as individuals and how far the government can go in the collection of evidence," said Payan.
The mistakes according to the defense resulted in another.
"We believe the evidence will show, points to one person, and he is not sitting in this room right now," said Payan.
Parlin, who defense attorneys claim is responsible for Blair’s death, is also charged with capital murder. His trial is set for May 10th.