Jury deliberations received underway Tuesday afternoon in Oakland County Circuit Courtroom for the case towards a Pontiac lady charged with murdering her youngster’s father — an act she claims was in self-defense.
Solana Cervantes, 26, is charged with open homicide and felony firearm for the Nov. 3, 2019 dying of Rolando Rosario, Jr., 23, killed by a single gunshot to the stomach. Rosario and Cervantes had one youngster in frequent, three years previous on the time, who Rosario was caring for in Cervantes’ condo a number of hours previous to the slaying whereas Cervantes was out for the night together with her on-again, off-again boyfriend and different associates. The capturing occurred at round 3:40 a.m., not lengthy after Cervantes returned dwelling.
Whereas Cervantes by no means denied capturing Rosario, the query remained as as to whether she did so as a result of she feared for her personal life.
In a trial that started final week earlier than Choose Kwame Rowe, assistant prosecutor Christopher George constructed his case on Cervantes’ altering her story throughout a sequence of interviews with Oakland County sheriff’s detectives — a number of who testified as to her claiming that Rosario assaulted her quickly after she returned dwelling and later denying that it had occurred.
Among the many different witnesses George referred to as to the stand have been medical professionals who stated they examined Cervantes after the capturing and located no accidents, although a small bruise on her neck was famous.
Countering these claims, a registered nurse from HAVEN, Chantel Hammond, testified for the protection as to discovering a number of indicators and signs in line with non-lethal strangulation when she examined Cervantes “head-to-toe” the day after the capturing. A feminine Oakland County sheriff’s detective was current in the course of the bodily examination.
Together with a bruise on Cervantes’ neck, Hammond stated, she discovered bruising on her higher shoulder, higher thigh and interior a part of her mouth, a scrape on her again, petechiae or purple recognizing in her eye, and linear marks on her neck that could possibly be brought on by strangulation or by a sufferer making an attempt to interrupt an assailant’s grip. Photographs of her discovering have been introduced to the jury.
“Solana did illustrate indicators and signs in line with nonfatal strangulation,” Hammond stated.
Cervantes selected to testify on her personal behalf, giving a soft-spoken, detailed account of what she claims led as much as the capturing. Rosario, she stated, had threatened her life and “choked her out” up to now — together with whereas she was pregnant — however it had been a pair years since he exhibited such conduct. But that conduct resurfaced simply earlier than the capturing, she stated, when an argument between them turned violent, with them tussling and pulling one another’s hair. She ended up on the ground with him on prime of her because the assault superior, she stated.
Rosario started choking her, Cervantes stated, as she screamed for assist.
“He saved choking me to the purpose I had no air left in my physique,” Cervantes stated, including that she blacked out for a second, then awoke to him punching her.
Their daughter was woke up by the battle, she stated, and Rosario went to are inclined to her. Cervantes stated she then retrieved her gun which she pointed at him to get him to go away the condo. At that time, Cervantes stated, he goaded her into capturing him.
As they moved into the lounge, she stated, Rosario saved strolling towards her and didn’t cease when she advised him to.
“I pointed the gun at him, yelling at him to cease…he saved strolling towards me, and when he received shut I shot him,” Cervantes testified. “I assumed he was going to kill me…he saved pushing me…I simply needed him to cease. I knew if I received inside his grasp, that was going to be it.”
Cervantes additional testified that she modified her story throughout police interrogations as a result of “the detective saved saying it didn’t occur…I simply advised him what he needed to say. They didn’t need the reality anymore so I went together with what they needed.”
In his closing assertion, George tried to low cost Cervantes’ testimony, reminding jurors of testimony from Rosario’s girlfriend who stated Cervantes was offended when she returned dwelling and picked a battle with Rosario. The girlfriend testified that she was ready exterior for him whereas the 2 bickered, however that she heard no screams for assist. After the shot was fired, the girlfriend stated she ran inside and noticed Rosario on the bottom. Cervantes rendered no care to him as he lay dying, she stated.
Two neighbors referred to as to testify additionally denied listening to screams or requires assist, George added.
“(Cervantes) is the one one who has a cause to lie…who has a motive to inform you one thing that’s not true,” George stated. “She had two years (because the capturing) to check all of the stories, and is available in right here together with her finest model of the occasions.”
Cervantes stated she by no means reported previous home violence out of “embarrassment,” however George claimed that was unfaithful.
“She indulged her anger. She was offended and he or she selected to behave on it,” he stated.
George additionally advised jurors that the accidents described by Hammond have been minor and “might have come from wherever.”
Cervantes, he added, selected to introduce a gun right into a state of affairs the place she had a number of different decisions. And although she might remorse capturing Rosario, that doesn’t excuse her actions, he stated.
In her closing assertion, Loftin reminded jurors that simply after the capturing, in response to testimony, Cervantes advised legislation enforcement and a paramedic on the scene that she had been assaulted and was hurting. Loftin additionally stated Cervantes’ examination at McLaren Oakland Hospital following her arrest, to clear her for jail, was incomplete.
And, she stated, Rosario’s conduct that night time was fully out of character — fueled by cocaine and alcohol which, in response to testimony, was detected in his blood at post-mortem.
“It was a sudden and violent assault (on Cervantes),” Loftin stated. “His pondering was fully clouded with substances.”
Loftin additionally advised jurors that Cervantes had insisted to detectives that she’d been assaulted, however ultimately was satisfied that what she believed occurred was unfaithful.
“She agreed with (detectives) as a result of that’s what they needed to listen to. They misled her…the detectives didn’t have all of the proof…why didn’t they watch for the (HAVEN) report?”
The proof, Loftin stated, does present Cervantes shot Rosario, however there’s nothing to help first-degree homicide, second-degree homicide or voluntary manslaughter prices — all that are to be thought of by the jury. Jurors have been additionally instructed in lawful self-defense.