Ex-girlfriend testifies in trial of man accused of killing attorney

Crime Watch

Marcos Vargas is pictured on the left, while murder defendant Nicholas Quintana and defense lawyer Timothy Hennessy are at right.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Nicholas Quintana did not act strangely or express sexual desires for men in the days leading up to the killing of a Bakersfield attorney he’s alleged to have met on a dating app, an ex-girlfriend testified Monday at his murder trial.

The former girlfriend of Quintana testified their relationship “seemed normal, it seemed good” and she noticed nothing unusual in his behavior either before or after the slaying of Marcos Vargas. She testified only for several minutes and is expected to be called back later in the trial.

Quintana, 22, is accused of stabbing Vargas multiple times with enough force that he “virtually decapitated” the attorney, according to testimony and court documents. The assault happened at Vargas’ apartment at Golden Valley Luxury Apartments in southeast Bakersfield, where the attorney invited Quintana after chatting him up on a dating app.

Vargas rushed from the apartment and banged on neighbors’ doors for help before collapsing early Nov. 29, 2017. He was dead by the time first responders arrived.

Prosecutor Eric Smith says Quintana killed and robbed the attorney after arriving for a sexual encounter. Vargas’ cellphone was stolen and recovered weeks later in a storm drain two blocks from the Long Beach home of Quintana’s then-girlfriend, according to testimony.

DNA evidence and information retrieved from cellphones and the MeetMe dating app connect Quintana to the crime, Smith has said.

Quintana defense attorney Timothy Hennessy has said his client is no murderer and urged jurors to keep an open mind. Both Quintana and Vargas had secrets, he said during his opening statement last week.

Monday marked the fourth day in a trial where both sides are expected to finish presenting evidence either late this week or early next week.

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