The prosecution has rested its case in a murder trial accusing a Utah man of killing one woman and injuring another in a knife attack at the Quality Inn in Rock Springs.
Bradley Fairbourn, 20 of Draper, Utah, is currently on trial facing charges of Murder in the First Degree and Attempted Murder in the First Degree for the stabbing death of Naisha Story and a knife attack on Natalia Arce on June 23, 2016.
After five days of testimony including the surviving victim, law enforcement, blood spatter and DNA experts, the lead investigator, and others involved in the case, the prosecution has rested its case in chief. They will have the opportunity for rebuttal after the defense calls its witnesses.
The majority of testimony today came from Detective Amanda Salazar of the Rock Springs Police Department who was the lead investigator on the case. Salazar testified that the evidence led her to suspect Fairbourn and later list him as the sole suspect in the case.
“I followed the evidence where it took me,” said Salazar.
Defense Attorney Rob Oldham asked if she considered other scenarios and suspects. Salazar testified that they considered other suspects including another man who had contacted the women around that time.
Oldham asked if she considered that the women may have been in a fight which led to the incident. He presented a scenario in which Story attacked Arce with a knife and Arce got the knife away from her before stabbing and killing her.
Salazar said she did not consider that scenario and did not believe that Arce would be able to inflict the fatal wounds.
During Salazar’s testimony, videos of Fairbourn at the hospital and a formal interview were played. During the formal interview, Fairbourn denied ever being in the room with the women.
The defense now acknowledges that Fairbourn did meet with the women at Quality Inn but left when he had no money for payment of services. Oldham asked Salazar if Fairbourn may have lied because he was afraid he would get in trouble for visiting a prostitute, and Salazar said that was possible.
Testimony was also heard from Sergeant William Erspamer of the RSPD who transported Fairbourn to the jail.
Motion for Acquittal
After the prosecution rested its case, the jury was dismissed and the defense made a Motion for Acquittal. Defense Attorney Valerie Schoneberger asked for an acquittal alleging that the State has failed to prove premeditation—a requirement of First Degree Murder.
Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Erramouspe argued that the State has shown premeditation by showing that Fairbourn arranged to meet with the women for a body rub despite having no money. He said Fairbourn rented a room in Rawlins and did not check out—alleging that Fairbourn intended to return to the room as an alibi.
Erramouspe also said Fairbourn went to the women’s room once and returned soon after with a knife. He said by returning with a deadly weapon it showed premeditation.
Schoneberger said Fairbourn’s apparent disorientation after the event and failure to immediately leave the scene would indicate the murder was not planned, but she maintained Fairbourn is innocent of the crime.
Erramouspe argued that Fairbourn’s failure to leave the scene was due to the fact that things did not go as planned when Arce was a surviving witness who fled the room. He also said Fairbourn needed to find a place where he could discard the knife.
Judge Lavery said he would consider the motion, and the defense will begin to present its case tomorrow morning.