Amaro trial enters second day

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Eric Butler

Prosecutors called eight witnesses to the stand in the first-degree murder trial of Pedro Amaro on Wednesday.
Amaro is being tried in connection with the April 2001 death of Kenneth Smith of Clovis. He could face life in prison if convicted.
Amaro’s girlfriend at the time of the incident, Valerie Duhon, continued her testimony from Tuesday as the day began in Judge Stephen Quinn’s court.
Duhon said Amaro told her he was going to Smith’s house, after prosecutors believe Smith had died, in order to burn down the home.
“He said he was going to start a fire,” said Duhon, who was then asked why by Assistant District Attorney Donna Mowrer. “Because he thought some of his hair was in there.”
“It comes down to whether they believe Valerie Duhon,” said District Attorney Brett Carter after court adjourned. “That’s essentially what this case revolves around.”
Defense attorney Gilbert Baca attacked Duhon’s credibility by repeatedly pointing out inconsistencies in her testimony from previous appearances in court.
“You lied to a grand jury?” asked Baca at one point.
“Yes, I did,” Duhon said.
“And you were under oath just like you are today?” Baca asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
After Duhon left, two people who used to work with Smith testified that he withdrew $330 in cash on the day he was killed. The state’s case centers on the belief that Amaro killed Smith for money.
Later, a DNA analyst from the state’s Department of Public Safety, Chris Radecki, testified that Smith’s blood was consistent with blood stains found on Amaro’s shoes.
At the end of the day, crime scene investigator Dave Williams took the stand. His testimony is scheduled to continue when the trial resumes today.
The DA’s office also plans on calling a forensic pathologist who worked on Smith’s autopsy.
According to Carter, the state may rest its case today.