Trial begins in 2015 murder, feticide case

Jurors were selected and the first witnesses testified Monday at the trial of Tiburcio Losana Santana, a Mexican citizen charged with the murder of Yolanda Cruz Marichon in Bartow County in 2015.

Santana is charged with one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, one count of feticide, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of home invasion, one count of burglary in the first degree, one count of theft by taking and one count of battery.

He is accused of committing the crimes between June 17 and June 18, 2015, at two different lots at the Friendly Lane Mobile Home Park at 278 Mac Johnson Road in Cartersville.

Santana was indicted by a grand jury in 2016. He is accused of stabbing Marichon "multiple times with an unknown sharp object similar to a knife." 

Judge David K. Smith ordered witnesses sequestered for the trial. In his opening statements, Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Adam Wilkinson said Marichon, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Marichon didn't know at the time [that] she was pregnant," he said.

Wilkinson said a trail of blood linked the mobile home of the victim to Santana's mobile home next door. Bartow County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) investigators later found Santana passed out in his bedroom, with a bloody shirt wrapped around his badly lacerated hand.

David Marshall, Santana's attorney, said that his client entered Marichon's mobile home after purportedly hearing her scream. According to Marshall, upon entering Marichon's residence Santana was allegedly slashed by an unknown assailant who fled the scene.

Praxedis Chavez, who referred to Marichon as his spouse although they were not legally married, described finding her body when he came home from working second shift at Toyo Tires.

"I saw drops of something that I thought looked like blood," he said through an interpreter. "I went to one of the bedrooms. I turned on the light and I saw her thrown on the floor. And a lot of blood."

He said that Marichon had about $600 in cash on her from her job selling fruit in Rome earlier in the day. Chavez said he did not give Santana permission to be in his home that evening.

BCSO investigator Johnathan Shirley was the first responder to the scene. 

"There was a Hispanic female, lying face down, covered in blood," he said. "I found a blood trail that started going to another lot ... the steps were wet, I did see blood on the door."

He recalled finding Santana laying on a bed. Shirley said his finger "was spurting blood" at the time.

Several Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials are expected to testify throughout the week. The trial resumes today at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center at 9 a.m.

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