The penalty phase of Mark Goudeau's trial continued this morning, with jurors hearing the deeply emotional accounts of the impact that the nine murders have had on the surviving family members and friends.
Today's testimony (continued from yesterday) truly was gut-wrenching.
Goudeau stared straight ahead or buried his face in some legal papers for the entire proceedings, never once turning his head toward those who were telling the jurors about their slain mothers, sisters, daughters, nephews.
Gilbert Martinez Jr. was one of those who spoke to the panel. Actually, Gilbert stood next to an older family member who tried to read the words that the teenager had composed.
But the older fellow soon found himself unable to speak without becoming overcome by emotion. He passed the paper to a victim's advocate from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, who read it with great feeling
Gilbert is 14 now.
More than five years ago, on April 10, 2006, he walked home by himself after his mother, Sophia Nunez, failed to pick him up as usual at school.
When Gilbert arrived home, he heard the bathtub running and stepped in to see what was up.
"The water never stopped running, and I felt that something was wrong," he said.
He found his mother dead in the tub half-naked and with one bullet to her head.
Like he had done in earlier trial testimony, Gilbert described how, as an 8-year-old, he had tried to pull his beloved mom out of the tub.
In a panic, he blew into her mouth to try to get her breathing again before running out for help.
Gilbert said he really tries to remember the many happy memories of his mom, but can't get that last, unthinkable mental picture of her out of his head.
"I remember my mom always saying `I love you,' and calling me the little man," Gilbert said through the advocate. "Now there is a lifetime of lost memories. She no longer will call me `the little man.'"
Trial testimony revealed that Goudeau had known Nunez socially for some time, and the two had spoken hundreds of times by cell phone. Testimony from genetic analysts also showed that Goudeau left his DNA on one of Nunez's breasts.
What specifically led the killer to the mother of three's west Phoenix home that day is unknown.
Testimony in this phase of the case--the part when jurors decide if Goudeau should face the death penalty--continues next week.
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