FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A man accused of stabbing his mother-in-law to death two years ago is in court this week. On Monday the jury was selected for the murder trial of Freddie Alcantar Junior. He’s accused of killing Debra Jones on August 30th, 2013 in her home on the city’s north side.
Jury selection took a little more than three hours Monday morning. Both the prosecution and defense warned them multiple times throughout the selection about the very gruesome nature of the crime.
They said parts of this trial will likely be very difficult to listen to and watch. The jury is made up of eight women and four men, plus two women alternates.
History of Case
Alcantar Junior was arrested by U.S. Marshals in California in January of 2014 and charged with murder. He’s been in jail since then. According to police, Debra Jones, 59, of Fort Wayne, was found dead in her bathroom. At that time, Jones’ daughter, Erika Alcantar, told police that she couldn’t get in touch with her mother so she went to her home to check on her. Michael Joyner, spokesperson for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said that’s when Erika and her husband, Freddie, found Jones covered in blood.
The Allen County Coroner said Jones died from loss of blood due to a sharp force injury to the neck. According to the probable cause obtained at the time, Jones had stab wounds to her head and neck.
After interviewing the couple, police got consent to search their Fort Wayne home, according to court documents. Several samples of what appeared to be dried blood were taken from their home.
Police used cell phone records and surveillance video to confirm him as the suspect. His trial was originally supposed to start in late August, but was pushed back to Oct. 19.
The probable cause obtained in 2014 said Freddie and Erika are married. The defense team confirmed Monday that they are still married.
Opening Statements and Witness Testimonies
Both the prosecution and defense teams made their opening statements before the jury on Monday afternoon. The prosecution took about ten minutes for its opening statements, while the defense used about seven for its portion.
The prosecution detailed in its opening statement how Erika and Alcantar were asking Jones for rent money the night before her death. It also revealed how the couple got into a fight, and Erika planned on going to her mother’s house but ended up staying in. According to the prosecution, she woke up to find Alcantar gone. When she called him, he said he was picking up cigarettes. The prosecution ended its opening statements saying:
“The bottom line is the defendant killed his mother-in-law because she was about to cut him off and support his wife, and he didn’t like that.”
The defense detailed in its portion how no murder weapon and no weapon has ever been found or revealed in this case. It also mentioned how nobody actually saw the homicide happen. The defense ended its opening statements saying:
“By all accounts, Freddie loved Deb Jones. He called her mom. He had no reason to kill Deb Jones. The bottom line is Freddie was an easy person to pin this crime on.”
Several witnesses took the stand including Jones’ son and sister. Both detailed walking up to Jones’ house the day she died and seeing tons of police cars and crime scene tape fill the street. When questioned about his relationship with his mother, Jones’ son said:
“We were very close. She’s the person I turned to for everything.”
Her sister became very emotional during her testimony, talking about how the two were supposed to go on a trip the day of her death. When she couldn’t get a hold of her sister, she called and texted multiple family members for help finding Jones, including Alcantar. She said he was actually the one to tell her about Jones’ death. She said he seemed very nonchalant when he gave her the news:
“Freddie was just sort of monotone, matter of fact.”
She also recalled talking to both Alcantar and Erika at the scene and thought they mentioned something about Jones having a will or life insurance policy.
One of the first officers at the scene also testified. He recalled how Erika was very emotional and crying when he arrived, and he found Alcantar in the bathroom near Jones’ body. He said the bathroom sink was also running at the time, and he thought Alcantar may have been vomiting in the toilet because of the intensity of the situation and scene.
There were about a dozen or so family members and friends of Jones in the courtroom on Monday. It didn’t appear that anyone was there for Alcantar. Alcantar showed up in court dressed up and showed little emotion through the opening statements and testimonies. He did ask his defense attorney questions throughout the day and took several notes.
The trial is set to last five days, and Judge John Surbeck, who is presiding over the case, said Monday he expects it to go until Friday.