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No Evidence of Struggle in Victim's Car, Judge Told

Hearing: Forensic expert says blood stains inside slain student's vehicle don't suggest she was fending off an attack after being shot.

April 20, 2002|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Although blood was spattered and smeared in slain Moorpark College student Megan Barroso's car, a forensic scientist testified Friday there was no evidence of a struggle inside the bullet-riddled vehicle.

Crime lab experts found numerous blood stains throughout the front section of Barroso's car, scientist Ed Jones told a judge at the preliminary hearing for Vincent Sanchez, accused of killing the 20-year-old Moorpark woman.

But those stains did not suggest Barroso was fending off an attack after being shot, Jones testified.

Barroso disappeared in the early morning of July 5 after leaving a party. Her car was found abandoned near a freeway overpass in Moorpark, and her remains were found a month later in a ravine near Simi Valley.

Prosecutors say Sanchez, a 31-year-old Simi Valley handyman, fired shots at the car, then abducted and sexually assaulted Barroso before she died.

The death penalty is being sought by prosecutors.

But defense attorneys say there is no evidence of rape. They have tried to show throughout their client's preliminary hearing in Ventura County Superior Court that Barroso could have died almost immediately after being shot in the abdomen.

On Friday, scientists offered evidence that could support either theory.

While Jones found no sign of a struggle, suggesting Barroso could have been unconscious or dead after being shot, he also found more than 20 blood stains around her purse and a small makeup case that could suggest she was alive and trying to reach for her cellular phone.

The phone was found on the passenger floor next to the spilled contents of the blood-stained makeup case. Those stains, Jones testified, were consistent for a person with a bloody hand who was trying to open the case. The coroner also found metal fragments in Barroso's right hand.

In addition to the blood evidence, a firearms expert testified that six bullets ripped through Barroso's rented Pontiac Sunfire. One pierced the hood, three went through the windshield, and one tore through the rear passenger door and exited through the rear driver-side door.

A sixth bullet was fired through the front driver-side door. Firearms expert Jim Roberts examined bullet fragments taken from Barroso's body at the autopsy and matched them to an assault rifle seized from the defendant's home.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday.

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