Shortly after Michael G. Ochoa was stabbed on MacLaren Street, a nearby resident told Yakima County Superior Court jurors that a man with what looked like blood on his face ran past her house.
Clementina Zapien-Farias said Wednesday she was watering plants outside her St. Helens Street home the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2018, when she said the young man ran past and gave her what she described in Spanish as a “strong face.”
But Zapien-Farias did not definitively identify Anthony Gregory Mallory from a police mugshot lineup, she and a police detective said during testimony in Mallory’s murder trial.
Mallory, 21, is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Ochoa, 55. While both sides agree that Mallory killed Ochoa, prosecutors maintain it was an unprovoked attack while Mallory’s attorneys assert he acted in self-defense.
Ochoa died Aug. 24, 2018, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle as a result of the 2-inch-deep stab wound to his neck, according to the King County Medical Examiner.
Yakima police Detective Arturo Medina said he was asked to look for homes with surveillance cameras in the area near the 1100 block of MacLaren Street to obtain evidence. He spotted a camera on Zapien-Farias’ home on St. Helens Street and contacted her at work, he told jurors.
Zapien-Farias said the cameras on her home did not record, but she told Medina what she saw the day of the killing, and looked at a photo montage to see if she could identify a suspect. Medina said she said two of the six photos looked similar to the person she saw.
Speaking through a court interpreter, Zapien-Farias said she was watering a tree and plants on her property when she heard someone running “desperately” past her home.
The man, Zapien-Farias said, had what appeared to be blood on his face, and when he ran by he made a face at her.
“His face scared me,” Zapien-Farias said. “You don’t know what that person might be able to do to you. You don’t know if he’s going to come back at you or keep running.”
The encounter scared Zapien-Farias so badly that she retreated to her house immediately afterward, she said.
Under cross-examination, Zapien-Farias said she did not call police to report the incident, and it was the police who reached out to her three days later.
Defense attorney Kenneth Therrien also questioned Zapien-Farias about a crime victim’s visa application her attorney filed on her behalf last year, and whether it was the reason she was testifying.
“I’m just asking you if part of the (crime victim’s visa) status process for you to qualify is you have to testify at this trial?” Therrien asked.
“I refuse to answer that question,” Zapien-Farias said.
But when asked by Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Sam Chen, Zapien-Farias said that her testimony was the truth.
The trial, which began April 19, is the second time Mallory has been tried for Ochoa’s death. His first trial ended March 9 when Judge Gayle Harthcock declared a mistrial after a juror visited the crime scene and shared his or her observations with jurors during deliberations in violation of court orders.