The man accused of killing Courtney Arvizu, strangled her to the point of leaving marks on her neck within 24 hours of their marriage in Las Vegas, court testimony revealed Monday.
Officer Aaron Frazier of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department told jurors Monday he was called by security officers at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas on March 28, 2015, for a report of domestic violence, the day after Courtney and Robert Arvizu were married.
“She was visibly upset,” Frazier said in San Fernando Superior Court, about interviewing 25-year-old Courtney Arvizu at the hotel.
Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer asked him if he noticed any injuries.
“Yes. There was a reddening around her neck and also an injury to her left eye,” he said.
Kramer introduced into evidence People’s Exhibit #19 which was a close-up photograph of Courtney Arvizu’s neck taken March 28, 2015.
Robert Arvizu, 50, stands accused of murdering his newlywed bride two months later on May 23, 2015. His jury trial began Thursday and continued Monday with the prosecution’s case against him.
During cross-examination, Arvizu’s lawyer, C. Edward Mack, asked the police officer if his client had told him that “strangling” was a part of the couple’s regular sex.
Frazier said he could not remember.
Mack also asked him if his client had told him during the Las Vegas interview that he “grabbed her (Courtney) by the neck and pushed her off of him?”
“I do not know what he said exactly,” Frazier said.
But, jurors also heard more about strangulation from a woman who testified she had been his girlfriend for two years.
The woman said she had been strangled by Arvizu six to seven times during their relationship, between 2007 and 2009.
The woman, whose full name was not used in court, recalled one particular incident of choking during which she lost consciousness.
“I don’t think it was for very long,” she said. “Everything went blank.”
The former girlfriend, said Arvizu called her a “housewife whore” and accused her of infidelity.
“He accused me of being with the guy who changed my tires and that’s why I got my tires changed there,” she said.
Although she did not contact law enforcement about Arvizu during their time together – noting she was frightened for her life – the former girlfriend said she contacted police when she heard about Courtney Arvizu’s death.
The body of Courtney Arvizu, was found inside her Newhall apartment on 9th Street between Newhall Avenue and Chestnut Street, shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Sunday May 24, 2015.
In a departure from courtroom protocol, Judge David W. Stuart allowed Arvizu’s lawyer to call a defense witness to the stand. Typically, the defense calls its witnesses after prosecutors have finished with their case.
Kristie Swartz, who said she lives across from Arvizu’s apartment on 9th Street, was asked what she saw at 1:00 a.m. on May 24, 2015.
Swartz described in court that she was between 12 and 15 feet from the Arvizu apartment’s front door.
“At 1 o’clock I saw somebody standing up at Rob’s apartment,” she said. “A man all in black.”
Mack asked Swartz” “Was the man you saw at the door Mr. Arvizu?”
Swartz told him: “No.”
Other tenants in the Newhall apartment complex were also called by the prosecutor, to testify as to what they saw on May 24, 2015.
Danny Konz, who lives in an apartment building near the Arvizu apartment building, said he’s known Robert Arvizu for about 15 years.
Kramer asked Konz if anyone came to his door on the night of May 23, 2015.
“Courtney,” he said. “She wanted to know if I would let her into the apartment. I assume Rob had not given her key.
“I called Rob to ask and make sure if it was OK,” he said, noting he made the phone call at 9:44 p.m. that night. “He said ‘Fine, let her in’ … and that he was on his way home.
Kramer introduced as evidence, a “screen shot” photograph taken of Konz’s cell phone showing the exchange of phone calls he had with Rob Arvizu that night.
“He called me back and asked if she (Courtney) was there – something of that nature,” he said.
Kramer asked: “Did he (Arvizu) say anything derogatory?”
“I sensed there was anger in his voice but he didn’t say anything about the reason,” Konz said.
“Then I called him back and said maybe it wasn’t a good idea. I stated he should spend the night somewhere else. He said ‘No, everything is going to be OK.’
The prosecution is expected to continue with its case Tuesday.
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