Prosecution: Defendant said he was sorry for stabbing
The fate of a Medford man accused of stabbing another man he mistakenly thought had attacked him is in the hands of a jury.
After the prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments late Wednesday, the case against Adan Manuel Valdez, 35, went to jurors, who must decide whether he is guilty of attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and resisting arrest.
Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Virginia Greer argued Valdez essentially admitted to the crimes when he apologized to victim Gildardo Flores-Ramirez.
Greer said Valdez told the victim, "I'm sorry I stabbed you. I got the wrong guy."
On May 29, 2013, Valdez and a woman were walking in Union Park near Plum Street when a car pulled up and people armed with a shotgun got out and beat him up, Valdez told Medford Police Department detectives in a videotaped interview after he was arrested on June 3, 2013.
Valdez said he was beaten unconscious and the assailants stole his black baseball cap, a do-rag, necklaces, fake diamond earrings from his ears, about $425 from his wallet and an iPad touch. They threw his wallet back at him.
Valdez said he was angry about the attack, but took a few deep breaths, calmed down and went home. He said he also went out to look for his younger brother to make sure he hadn't been attacked by the same people.
The prosecution argued Valdez did not have the baseball hat at the time he was attacked. Instead, he went home, put on the hat and then road a BMX bicycle while looking for his attackers.
Valdez allegedly accosted Flores-Ramirez on the street as Flores-Ramirez was walking home from work at a restaurant, asking him whether he was a gang member, then later chased him to a house, where he burst in and stabbed him four times in the abdomen, back and hand, according to police. Valdez dropped his hat at the scene of the stabbing and fled on the bike while wearing a black puffy coat, the prosecution said.
A police detective investigating the attack against Valdez went to his home, where she noticed he matched the description of the stabbing suspect. Valdez became aggressive, resisted arrest and allowed officers to handcuff him only after he was threatened with being stunned with a Taser, detectives testified in court Wednesday.
A black BMX bike was found at the home, along with a puffy coat in Valdez's bedroom with a blood stain that tested positive for the stabbing victim's DNA.
The hat found at the scene of the stabbing had the DNA of multiple people on it, but most of the DNA was from Valdez, according to DNA experts.
Greer said Valdez lied when he told police detectives the hat had been stolen when he was beaten up.
"You need it to be in someone else's hands," she said.
Defense Attorney Robert Graham said the hat could have been stolen by the people who attacked Valdez, and one of them could then have stabbed Flores-Ramirez.
"It's very logical and reasonable to think the same person who attacked Mr. Valdez also attacked Mr. Flores-Ramirez and left it behind," Graham said.
Graham said some of the witnesses failed to describe distinctive dark circles that ring Valdez's eyes and a scar on his nose when they described the person who stabbed Flores-Ramirez.
He said Flores-Ramirez, who has twice been convicted of rape, is an unreliable witness.
Most recently, Flores-Ramirez was convicted of first-degree rape in April for having sex with a teenage girl after she fell asleep at his house while visiting her friend there, according to court records and an affidavit.
His case also involved an apology.
Medford police had the teen rape victim call Flores-Ramirez, who "apologized numerous times for what he did," the affidavit said.