YUMA, Ariz. – Opening statements were delivered in the murder trial of Andres Flores Galindo, who’s facing one count of first-degree murder in the killing of Wellton resident Christal Figueroa.
Thursday afternoon multiple witnesses took the stand including a forensic pathologist, a Yuma police officer who was sergeant at the time of the crime and a good friend of the group.
In Wednesday’s opening statements witness YPD Sergeant Ron Rodriquez (ret.) who’s worked with the Yuma Police Department for 22 years took the stand. During the time of the murder Rodriquez was working with the Major Crimes Unit. He described the scene and how the body was processed, confirmed photos of the scene, and how they interviewed the family. During that time in court is when when Jose Jimenez was mentioned.
The second witness, Dr. Reena Singh is a Forensic Pathologist who performed the autopsy on Christal Figueroa. Singh described her job, what she does, what happened when she performed the autopsy and confirmed photos of the body/her tattoos. She then explained her gunshot wound. It was a debate whether or not the bullets were lethal. However, Singh mentioned that if it were one bullet they wouldn’t classify it as “lethal”. However, since there were 16 bullet wounds it would be considered lethal according to Singh. From the examine from the table, Singh could not tell where the bullets were coming from or what kind of weapons were used to kill Figueroa.
That’s when the Defense asked if there was evidence of any sexual damage. Singh responded by saying that she didn’t look for that per say, however, a toxicology test was done on Christal. They found meth in her system along with THC, marijuana, and alcohol.
The third witness to take the stand was Brandi Michalski. She was a close friend of the group. During her testimony she described what she saw and heard that night. There was a moment in court where she mentioned she knew Galindo was carrying a gun with him at all times, but it was never in the hotel room where they were during the night of the crime, but rather in the living room. Later the State Attorney had the judge and jury hear audio of Michalski saying years ago she knew and saw Galindo with the gun in his hand in the hotel room and not in the living room. Michalski seemed puzzled and said she felt that was a forced answer. However, still doesn’t recall Galindo carrying the revolver with him in the room.
Michalski said, her along with their other friends continued smoking meth while Galindo and Jimenez stayed in the bedroom with Ramirez and Figueroa. She also mentioned that Jimenez and Figueroa fought and he tossed her in a closet where she was only wearing a shirt.
Michalski said they all ended up leaving the hotel together in a black Cadillac Escalade. Jimenez was driving the Escalade and drove to Sunset Trailer Park, where she and Amanda McLellan were dropped off.
She mentioned about 15 minutes later the men came back to pick them up but Figueroa was no longer with them.
Michalski then stated that they drove off to a house on Colorado Street, where she thought Ramirez lived. They continued to smoke more meth. At this point in time they had been smoking meth since 9 p.m. and it’s was now about 4 – 5 a.m. She mentioned the sun came up and that’s when they left the house and continued driving around together. Eventually they were involved in the collision in the area of 1st Street and Madison Avenue.
Michalski mentioned how Jimenez fell asleep as he was driving the car. The State Attorney asked her why she fled the scene when they crashed and she stated that she didn’t want to get in any trouble whatsoever.
She mentions there were several guns in the car and they had been smoking meth so she didn’t want to get caught by the police. She never mentioned she knew anything about the murder and said she had no idea that Figueroa was killed.
Michalski was arrested on March 26 following the Yuma police investigation into the hit-and-run accident that happened on the morning of the murder.
Police later found Michalski, who claimed to find out about the murder after it happened, lied to police about other suspect’s whereabouts during two separate interviews.
She mentioned when the car crashed she decided to take one of the guns in the trunk and put it in her purse but her purse was too small to fit so she ran with it.
Michalski was originally charged with murder, however, she plead guilty to hindering prosecution in a plea agreement and was sentenced to 60 months of intensive probation and one year in jail.
In court Thursday afternoon she mentioned she didn’t want to testify but she took a plea agreement and is now forced to take the stand.
In May 2014, Jimenez admitted to murdering Figueroa and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Figueroa’s body was found March 22, 2013, in a citrus grove near County 17th Street and Avenue 2E in Yuma. She was shot 16 times according to officials.
Figueroa was a mother of three children.
The trial is expected to last three weeks and currently set for May 11, 12, 17-19, 24-26, 31 and June 1st.