Prosecutors call it overkill - the combination of beating and strangulation in the trial for a 24-year-old Mesquite man.
Ruben Alvarado is charged with first-degree murder for killing Chynal Lindsey more than two years ago in Dallas.
A Dallas County jury on Monday heard and viewed graphic evidence in the killing of the transgender woman on the first day of the trial at the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building.
Melody Louis, a Dallas County Assistant District Attorney, told jurors the trial would focus on the alleged actions of Alvarado.
“This case is not about her choice to live as a transgender female,” Louis told jurors in a 10-minute opening statement. “This case is going to be about his (Alvarado) actions – his choices. It’s about the violence he allowed to explode on our victim.”
Defense attorneys Richard Franklin and Robbie McClung did not make an opening statement before prosecutors began calling witnesses.
Investigators say Lindsey was beaten and strangled when her body was discovered in White Rock Lake on June 1, 2019.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Louis told jurors they will see text messages between Lindsey and Alvarado on May 31 before he picked Lindsey up in Arlington before driving them both back to his apartment in Mesquite. Louis added blood evidence places Lindsey in the backseat of Alvarado’s car.
Additionally, prosecutors plan to introduce GPS cell phone data that shows Alvarado’s phone all around White Rock Lake before stopping at the spot Lindsey’s body was found by a father who had taken his kids to the lake the next morning.
Calvin Torrance told jurors he went to the lake with his two young children and thought he spotted a hand in the water and flagged down another person at the park to confirm and then called 911.
Tamaya Lindsey was in the 195th District Court courtroom when testimony began Monday.
“I just don’t want this to get swept under the rug. I just want justice,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey’s death attracted national attention in 2019 as the second transgender woman killed in Dallas in less than a month and third over a nine-month span.
Tamaya Lindsey sat in the second row in the courtroom of District Judge Hector Garza as prosecutors revealed to jurors Lindsey was strangled with a belt that was still around her neck when she was pulled from the water.
“We’re hearing things we did not know,” Lindsey told NBC-5.
She added she plans to be in the courtroom each day with hopes she may learn more about why her cousin died.
“Will we get those answers? Probably not, just from what I’m feeling, probably not but if there’s a little inkling of hope left we’re going to hold on to it,” Lindsey said.
Alvarado faces anywhere from five to 99 years, or life in prison, if found guilty.