Murder Trial

Survivor of Grocery Store Stabbing Attack Testifies in Capital Murder Trial

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The capital murder trial of a construction worker accused in a brutal and random stabbing attack in a grocery store parking lot is underway in Dallas County.

Armando Navarro, 29, faces life in prison if convicted. Navarro entered a 'not guilty' plea in court.

Jurors heard from one man who survived the attack and the wife of another man Navarro is accused of stabbing to death during a robbery. The victims did not know the suspects.

His physical wound healing, Juan Hernandez, sat silently outside Judge Brandon Birmingham’s courtroom.

He would soon face the man accused of attacking him on the morning of Aug. 6, 2019.

The Richardson city custodian was on break and had stopped by the Kroger on North Coit Road to grab breakfast.

Hernandez said a man wearing a construction hardhat and reflective vest approached him as he neared the store’s entrance.

“He asked me with his voice: ‘Hey man, do you have a cigarette,’” he recalled. “I replied: ‘No, I’m sorry, I don’t smoke.’”

Hernandez said he was then attacked from behind.

Hernandez thought the stranger had punched him in the neck, only to realize he’d been stabbed under the chin.

The victim managed to snap a photograph of the suspect on his cell phone, which was shown to jurors during the trial.

“After he attacked me, he was in anger and he started to insult me and he was telling me that I must be dead by now,” said Hernandez.

Prosecutors claim Navarro then approached Arturo Negrete, stabbing the 42-year-old to death.

“I knew in my heart, I knew something was wrong,” said the victim’s wife Celia Negrete on the stand.

She recalls how odd it was that her hardworking husband actually wanted to stay home that day, but went ahead and drove to Kroger to set up a wine display for his employer.

Celia said she did not get a call from her husband that morning like she normally did.

She then began getting calls from family and then police informing her that her husband of 14 years and the father of their two teens was dead.

“I remember them telling me your husband didn’t make it,” she said tearing up on the stand. “And that’s all I could hear her say, 'he didn’t make it.'”

Prosecutor Jason Fine told jurors Navarro “stabbed [Negrete] multiple times and left him bleeding to death on the concrete.”

Fine says Navarro carjacked the victim, taking his car only to crash it into another vehicle down the road.

The victim in that hit and run testified he chased after Navarro after he ran away from the crash scene.

The suspect is accused of then breaking into at least one house before Dallas police arrived and arrested him.

Navarro’s defense is not denying the attacks but is instead focusing on the charges against their client.

“What we’re going to ask you to look at is whether [Navarro’s] intent at the time he went in to commit that murder, and he did commit that murder, was to commit a robbery and I’m telling you right now, they’re not going to be able to prove that,” said defense attorney Robbie McClung in her opening statement.

Navarro previously filed a motion to have his attorney dismissed citing "counsel shows no interest in the case at hand and only seeks plea agreement."

Birmingham denied the motion. The judge also ordered a competency exam.

Navarro's criminal past includes offenses for assault and burglary.

If convicted of capital murder, Navarro would automatically be sentenced to life in prison.

His defense is asking the jury to find him guilty of the lesser charge of murder, which would carry a sentence of five years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Testimony continues Wednesday. It is unknown if Navarro will take the stand in his own defense.

The case is expected to wrap Wednesday or Thursday.

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