Witnesses testified Tuesday about the chaos that unfolded on MacLaren Street after Michael G. Ochoa was stabbed in August 2018.
“It all happened so fast. I was freaked out,” said Mathew Lowrey, who was visiting his father when Ochoa was stabbed. “He wasn’t talking. He was barely breathing.”
Mathew Lowrey, his father and others testified in the trial of Ochoa’s accused killer, Anthony Gregory Mallory, in Yakima County Superior Court.
Mallory, 21, is charged with second-degree murder in Ochoa’s death. Prosecutors said Mallory attacked Ochoa without provocation, while Mallory’s attorney said his client was acting in self-defense, alleging that Ochoa had threatened him.
Ochoa was in the 1100 block of MacLaren Street the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2018, trying to track down the people to whom he had loaned his trailer.
Michael Lowrey, Mathew Lowrey’s father, testified that Ochoa asked him if he knew where the family moved, and told him he would get their phone number from his girlfriend. He said Ochoa didn’t seem angry or upset about the missing trailer, or the fact that Michael Lowrey could only give him a phone number.
But when he went back out, he saw Ochoa drop to the ground, and someone who had been with Ochoa was running down the nearby alley, Michael Lowrey testified.
Michael Lowrey told his girlfriend, Theresa Murphy, to call 911 while he and his son went to help Ochoa.
Mathew Lowrey said he took over from Ochoa’s girlfriend and tried to stop the bleeding, while his father relayed information to police.
“My pants were soaked in blood,” Mathew Lowrey said. “My hands were covered with blood.”
Michael Lowrey and Murphy said Mallory was at their house about 40 minutes before the stabbing, and he had left just a minute before the stabbing happened.
Murphy said she recognized Ochoa, an old friend, when she saw him bleeding on the ground, and brought out towels to use as a makeshift dressing to stop the flow of blood.
Marisela Torres-Cruz told jurors through an interpreter she was across the street saying goodbye to her grandchildren when she saw someone strike Ochoa on the neck and he fell to the ground.
She also identified Mallory from a photo montage as Ochoa’s attacker, and subsequently pointed him out in court.
Prior to her testimony, Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Sam Chen asked that Mallory move his seat farther away from the witness’ seat, as some witnesses expressed concern that Mallory was giving them intimidating looks earlier in the trial.
Judge Gayle Harthcock denied the request, as a change in seating arrangements might prejudice jurors, but told Chen he could point out to jurors if Mallory was giving witnesses menacing looks.
Mallory is being tried a second time for Ochoa’s death. His first trial ended March 9 when Harthcock declared a mistrial after finding that a juror had gone to the crime scene and discussed his or her observations with the other jurors during deliberations. That violated court orders restricting jurors to only the information presented in court during the trial.
Kevin Ochoa, Ochoa’s brother, testified that he had gone to the crime scene and talked with neighbors, and had passed on what he learned about what happened to police. When pressed by Mallory’s attorney, Kenneth Therrien, Kevin Ocha said he did not recall when he had given the information to detectives, noting that things around that time were “a big blur.”
“When we were at the hospital, the family made me the medical decision-maker for Mike, and I was passing along information on Mike (to the family),” Kevin Ochoa said. He said his family was together when Ochoa was taken off life support at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Ochoa died Aug. 24, 2018, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s office.