Allan Agababa's retrial starts with same repeat witness - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Allan Agababa's retrial starts with same repeat witness

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Four years later and still no closure in the case against accused murderer, Allan Agababa. After nearly a week in jury selection, his re-trial started today. And what feels like deja vu - the same witnesses called to the stand to recall testimony from his trial three years ago.

New lawyers. New jurors. But, the same defendant.

Prosecutor Jeremiah Luther said, "August 13, 2013, Shelly Bernstein is found in her bed, with a hole above her right eye in her forehead. Blood covering her pillow. She's in her night clothes. She's in her apartment." Back in 2013, Agababa was arrested and charged with his mother's slaying.

According to the government, his motive was to collect the 55-year-old flight attendant's death benefits.

Among the government's witnesses, Luther says divorced couple, Leilaloha Borja and Randall Fulcher, will testify on Agababa's plan to kill his mother.  Luther continued, "You're also going to hear from Randall Fulcher. He's going to tell you how the defendant came with laptops and said that he had just killed his mother and how he was trying to get rid of these laptops which he claimed were stolen."

Though he was tried three years ago, Agababa was not convicted. The past jury failed to reach a unanimous decision rendering a mistrial.

According to defense attorney Curtis Van de Veld, jurors this time around should return with a not guilty verdict. Defense will revive testimony from their expert witness, California-based forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Cohen.

While the government's expert witness, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola determined the manner of death a homicide, Dr. Cohen disagreed - saying it was undetermined. With no blood tests, Dr. Cohen speculated it could've been an accidental fall combined with the victim's use of painkillers.

"When you hear the information about the Fentanyl, you're going to realize that Fentanyl slows respiration, it slows the heart. That's part of what it does, and people who are overdosing on Fentanyl, may appear - you can't wake them you can't rouse them," he said.

During opening statements Monday morning, prosecution recalled facts from the case. That Agababa, though he was the first to discover his mother dead, didn't call 911.

Instead, he awoke his sleeping neighbors, Robert Dodd Plew and Phillip Turner Kapp claiming he was robbed and showing them into the house where Bernstein still laid dead. Kapp said, "He was frantic about the robbery." When Luther asked, "What do you mean frantic about the robbery?" he replied,  "I didn't hear anything about his mom."

"He was upset about his laptop. Can't believe it's gone. That was the frantic was about."

Police testimony also verified the home didn't appear to be ransacked or burglarized with no sign of forced entry.

Trial will resume on Tuesday with more government testimony.

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