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Ex-Fire Captain Testifies During Murder Trial

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Los Angeles fire captain charged with murdering a woman and dumping her body on a street took the stand once again Thursday.

David Del Toro’s testimony first began Wednesday in the murder trial of Jennifer Flores.

During questioning Thursday, defense attorney Joseph A. Gutierrez asked Del Toro, “David, did you kill Jennifer Flores?”

“No, I did not,” the 54-year-old former fire captain responded, testifying that he did not have any ill will or hatred against the 42-year-old woman.

Del Toro, who is charged with murdering Flores on Aug. 16, 2006, told the Los Angeles Superior Court jury that he consented to having fingernail clippings and scrapings done after Flores’ death because “I wasn’t afraid to have it done.”

When asked why he spoke to investigators following the discovery of Flores’ body, he said, “I believe I had nothing to hide, but I wasn’t Mirandized until way later in the conversation.”

The former fire captain said he had allowed the woman — who he met through a former roommate in 2000 — to stay with him on occasion in 2006 because she seemed to be homeless and living out of her car.

He denied any romantic interest in her or any sexual dalliances between the two, saying that he “never had sex with that woman.”

Del Toro testified that he spent the day drinking to drown his sorrows after a “bad shift” at work that included a young boy dying, and spoke on the telephone to Flores, who had left a message on his windshield, before she came to his house that afternoon.

He said a man who Flores apparently knew came by the house and spoke with Flores at one point during the evening.

Flores, who had been drinking with him after arriving that afternoon, was on the living room couch watching television when he went to bed exhausted, he said.

He noted that he recalled hearing some kind of sounds, but said it was hard to distinguish.

Flores’ naked and bloody body was found in the early morning hours less than a mile from Del Toro’s Eagle Rock home.

During his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace told jurors that Del Toro broke Flores’ nose, jaw and ribs, choked her to death and possibly dragged her body from his pickup truck through the neighborhood to the street where the body was discovered, and that police officers followed a trail of blood and tire tracks from the victim’s body to Del Toro’s front door.

In his opening statement, Del Toro’s attorney countered that his client was so exhausted from work — which included three consecutive 24-hour shifts in the days leading up to the killing — that he was in a “twilight state of confusion,” compounded by alcohol. He said the veteran firefighter eventually woke up in a “stupor” and “attempted to clean up … an unexplained mess.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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