Grand jury transcripts reveal details of woman’s grisly death

first_imgShe came to the veteran firefighter’s Eagle Rock home and had a few drinks and some casual conversation. By night’s end, she lay broken, bloodied and dead in the street. The last moments of Jennifer Flores’ life were spent as a human punching bag, with David Del Toro pummeling and then strangling her, according to grand jury transcripts released Tuesday at the request of the Daily News. She was tossed like a sack of laundry into the bed of his pickup truck in a vain attempt to dispose of her body under the cover of darkness, the transcripts said. But she tumbled out and got caught in the truck’s wheel well, which eventually created an obvious trail of evidence. Flores’ lifeless body finally came to rest near a sidewalk, a victim of what prosecutors say was torturous murder. As day broke, investigators discovered a line of blood and tire rubber that traveled from the scene to 5127 Vincent Ave. – Del Toro’s front porch – less than a mile away. Grisly details AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeThe grand jury testimony provides grisly details of Flores’ unsuccessful struggle Aug. 16 with a man fueled by alcohol. Prosecutors used the testimony from 14 witnesses to charge Del Toro, 50, a Los Angeles Fire Department captain who has since retired, with murder and torture, a special circumstance that makes him eligible for the death penalty. He remains jailed with no bail. “These actions or injuries were caused by somebody who was trying to cause this woman pain, for what the evidence shows to be sadistic purposes: giving somebody a black eye, breaking their nose, breaking their jaw, breaking their ribs, hitting them in the head with an object that leaves a gash on the side of their head,” Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace told the grand jury in his closing argument. Del Toro didn’t know Flores well, Grace added, so it is unlikely her death could have been a crime of passion. “So the only reason for him to be hitting her like this is his own sadistic pleasure,” the prosecutor argued. The 295 pages of grand jury transcripts provide the following account of how Del Toro and Flores met and how their acquaintance turned so tragic. Witnesses included detectives, forensics investigators, a coroner, a neighbor, Del Toro’s ex-wife and ex-girlfriend, and Flores’ brother. Department veteran Del Toro, a 23-year Fire Department veteran who trained recruits and counseled fellow firefighters in human relations, met Flores, 42, of San Gabriel, through a former roommate in the early to mid-1990s. They became reacquainted roughly a week before her killing. That night, neighbor Jazmine Uramis, 15, heard a man and a woman argue before a car sped off, she testified. “I was trying to go to sleep, but then first I heard two people arguing … and then a little while after that, about 15 minutes later, I heard tires screeching,” she said. Alcohol involved Del Toro and Flores clearly drank that night. Del Toro’s blood-alcohol level was 0.12, above the legal limit to drive of 0.08. Flores’ was staggering – between 0.29 and 0.38. “He did have somewhat of a temper, even without the drinking,” Melissa Dale, who dated Del Toro for 10 years and was his wife for two years, told the grand jury. “I would describe him as controlling. He was of a jealous nature and intimidating.” Prosecutors believe Del Toro nearly beat Flores to death with his bare hands before strangling her. He then hoisted her limp body over his shoulder and carried her out the front door. He dumped the body in his truck bed and backed out of the driveway with such force that her body tumbled out when he hit the brakes. Unaware, Del Toro backed the left rear tire over her, put the truck in drive and then spun the rear wheel as the tire sprayed blood and tissue into the wheel well. The wounds on her buttocks closely matched the width of his truck’s tires – 8 1/4 inches. Del Toro realized what had happened, got out and reloaded the body into the truck bed, where it formed a pool of blood, investigators testified. He then drove from his house to the drop site – leaving a bloody tire track nearly a mile long back to his driveway. When police knocked on Del Toro’s door about 7 a.m., he answered in his underwear and looked bewildered. Once inside the door, they noticed a large stain that was very wet, as if somebody had been trying to clean it up, Los Angeles police Detective Eric Mosher testified. A fan was blowing directly on the stain, and a near-empty bottle of rubbing alcohol sat near some gloves and two pieces of cut rope in the kitchen. It’s unclear how the rope fits into the case, but police found rope fibers at the home that matched those found on Flores’ body. Flores’ car was parked out front. Inside the house, on a table where police found blood, were her car keys. They also found a bloody T-shirt, towel and LAFD sweat pants. Police also discovered bloodied gloves in Del Toro’s truck. They also found a note from Flores to Del Toro with various contact numbers, including one for her brother. The porch had recently been washed with a garden hose; water was still sitting in the cracks and in the lip of the hose. The truck bed and the undercarriage, which showed spatterings of blood, also had been washed. ‘Very cooperative’ Officers then detained Del Toro. In his testimony, Detective Ismael Aldaz described him as “very pleasant, very cooperative” and that he did not appear to be intoxicated. He even gave directions from his house back to Parker Center through traffic. Del Toro initially denied that Flores had been at his house, Aldaz testified. He then admitted her visit and described her as a person who only came around him when she needed to do her laundry or needed to clean herself up. Del Toro told police he had been drinking tequila and beer and offered her a drink. A man later came to the door and spoke with Flores outside, before she rejoined Del Toro to either watch TV or listen to music, Aldaz said. Flores began arguing with Del Toro over borrowing his truck to move. “Flores got upset and started calling Mr. Del Toro names, using profanity towards him,” Aldaz said. “He claims that he grabbed her by the arm and made her face him.” Del Toro couldn’t believe she was calling him names since he was there trying to help her, Aldaz told the grand jury. But the argument ended, and he said he went to bed. He denied any sexual contact with Flores at any time since he’s known her. Del Toro told police he later heard a loud argument in front of his home, but went back to sleep after safeguarding his valuables. “We did ask him how could someone use his vehicle and come and park in front of his residence, and he had no answer for that,” Aldaz testified. Del Toro then asked for a lawyer. [email protected] (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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