BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – The opening speech began on Wednesday in a gruesome murder trial. Nicholas Quintana, 22, is charged with the death of Bakersfield attorney Marcos Vargas, who was found covered in blood and naked outside the Golden Valley Luxury Apartments in November 2017.
Prosecutor Eric Smith set out the scene during his opening speech with crime scene photos showing the cuts on Vargas’ body when he was found. Smith stated that some cuts on his neck were two inches deep.
Smith also called his first two witnesses on the booth, Carol Bracy and Claudia Lopez, both Vargas employees at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance. Both women described Vargas as a happy person who was loved in the office.
“He was one of my closest friends in the office,” said Lopez.
Describing working with Vargas in the domestic violence department at the GBLA, Lopez said they defied their mutual experience as Hispanic lawyers. While describing Vargas as a happy person, she noted that he had “suffered a lot” in his early life. She said these experiences only increased his excitement and determination in his work.
“He just wanted to be the best lawyer he could,” she said.
Varga’s body was discovered by a neighbor on the night of November 28, 2017.
Court documents show that investigators allegedly found text messages between Quintana and his girlfriend, discussed the case the news was published, and joked that the size described did not match his standing.
The documents also show that Vargas had conversations with several men on the app and invited them to come to his apartment to have sex. One of those people was Quintana.
Quintana’s cell phone records show he was in the area around the same time the murder occurred. His cell phone was then tracked to Long Beach, near Vargas’ cell phone.