The trial for JonCasey William Rowell, the man accused of fatally shooting a transgender woman in early 2016 at her home, has begun. Police said the shooting happened around 3 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2016, at Monica Loera's home, which was located along East Powell Lane.
On Tuesday, two of Loera's roommates and two of her neighbors took the stand. They said they were all home the night Loera was murdered and described what they remembered.
One of the roommates, Savannah Grimes, said he was sleeping when he heard a knock on the door. Grimes explained Loera worked as a prostitute and had told him that the man at the door forgot his coat.
Grimes said after he went to open the door, he heard a gun shot. Then, Loera came up to him saying she'd been shot. He said she never who was at the door.
Another roommate, Eduardo Laredo, said he was in his room with his dogs and girlfriend the night Loera was murdered. He said prior to the incident, Loera came in and told him to keep his dogs close by because she had a guest coming. Laredo said he later heard a gun shot, but also never saw who was at the door.
Loera's two nextdoor neighbors said they did see who was at the door. They both described a man coming back and forth from Loera's door and that prior to hearing a gun shot, they heard her arguing with a man.
An Austin Police officer investigating the case also took the stand. He noted there were two very aggressive dogs at the home. He also said during the search of the home they found an ID card belonging to Rowell and some money.
The defense argued that Rowell is innocent, but wouldn't go into detail about why when asked why earlier today.
"The facts are developing as we speak," attorney Jeff Senter said. "We believe the facts will establish that he is innocent, he's not guilty. Any act that he may have taken was in self-defense."
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
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