Friends replay days before, after servicemember’s death

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Attorneys for Amy Herrera, the woman accused of killing her Air Force husband, argued Tuesday she did it in self-defense.

Prosecutors, though, say this was murder and they say something Amy Herrera told her friend after the shooting proves it. Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday afternoon in the preliminary hearing to see if this will go to trial.

“We heard a rumor that Marc had died,” Stephanie Taylor remembered in a phone call to Amy Herrera. “She said, ‘Yeah that’s true’.”

Stephanie Taylor took the witness stand Tuesday, a friend of Marc Herrera. His wife, Amy Hererra, told her over the phone he had committed suicide.

But then just a few weeks later, she told a much different story.

“That’s when she went into rather graphic detail about what happened,” Taylor said. “Did she describe to you she wanted to tell you the truth?” Greer Rose with the District Attorney’s Office asked. “Yes,” Taylor replied. “What did she tell you, what details did she tell you?” Rose asked. “That she killed Marc,” Taylor said.

It was the night of July 1st, 2012. The Herreras were hosting a party for some Ecuadorian exchange students. Those students say Marc had been drinking and got upset when a male student had gone into the bedroom of a female student. They say he pulled out a gun.

From there, he went to a bedroom closet and Amy followed. That’s when a shot went off and Marc had died.

Amy Herrera originally told police Marc put her hands on the gun and made her pull the trigger. On Tuesday, defense attorneys say this was all self-defense because she was a victim of domestic violence.

One of Amy Herrera’s coworkers said in court Tuesday Amy had told her about what was going on just three weeks before the shooting.

“He was drinking a lot, he was getting more violent,” Elizabeth Downs, a coworker of Amy, said. “She said he was shoving her down on the bed, up against the wall.”

In their closing arguments, prosecutors say Amy Herrera ultimately ended up with the gun in her hands.

“She chose to pull that trigger, hold that gun in her hand and pull the trigger,” Rose said.

“Once Stephanie Taylor asked her in that final statement where she told in her words the truth, she said who’s hands were on the gun and Amy said it was hers and then says ‘Oh, oh, maybe I don’t remember’ she backed off on that. She knew that was a bad thing to admit to.”

The defense acknowledges this was no accident.

“You’ve got someone with a tremendously high blood alcohol content waving a gun around, threatening people,” Eric Hannum said.

“Anybody in that moment is going to feel a kind of fear, sudden terror that is at the core of our definition of sufficient provocation.”

Also testifying Tuesday was an expert in blood forensics.

Amy Herrera has avoided trial twice now with both of those previous indictments being dismissed.

The state is arguing first-degree murder, but the judge can also consider second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The hearing is set to continue Wednesday morning at 10:30. With closing arguments wrapped up, judge Briana Zamora could decide then whether the case will go to trial.

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