Girls recall finding their San Antonio mom in pool of blood – San Antonio Express-News

The testimony of two little girls who found their mother lying in a pool of blood almost two years ago marked the start of their father’s murder trial Tuesday.

The oldest, now 10, said she texted their grandmother to say, “I think mom is dead.”

The girls are witnesses for the state in the trial of Jorge Izquierdo, accused of fatally shooting his on-and-off girlfriend, Cora Ann Nickel, 27, on Aug. 20, 2020.

Izquierdo, 31, cried and wiped tears from his eyes at the defense table as his daughters walked by, each holding a stuffed animal. Neither looked in his direction.

They are not being identified because they are minors. The youngest is now 7.

Prosecutors present a photo of Cora Nickel into evidence during opening statements of the murder trial of Jorge Izquierdo, whom is accused of shooting Nickel on Aug. 20, 2020.

Prosecutors present a photo of Cora Nickel into evidence during opening statements of the murder trial of Jorge Izquierdo, whom is accused of shooting Nickel on Aug. 20, 2020.

Charlie Blalock/ Contributor

Prosecutor Kristen Mulliner said in her opening statement that Izquierdo and Nickel had an argument as they left a party for Izquierdo’s mother and when they got home, it spilled over into the house.

Mulliner said Nickel asked Izquierdo to leave, but he did not.

“Jorge bent her (Cora Nickel) over the sink, put a gun to her head and shot,” Mulliner said.

She said Izquierdo fled, leaving his car in the driveway on Maverick Draw on the Northwest Side, and a neighbor’s surveillance camera caught someone running between houses around that time, Mulliner said.

Jorge Izquierdo speaks with his defense attorneys before the start of opening statements in his murder trial Tuesday. Izquierdo is accused of shooting his children’s mother. Cora Nickel, on Aug. 20, 2020.

Jorge Izquierdo speaks with his defense attorneys before the start of opening statements in his murder trial Tuesday. Izquierdo is accused of shooting his children’s mother. Cora Nickel, on Aug. 20, 2020.

Charlie Blalock/ Contributor

Authorities would later arrest Izquierdo in California.

Defense attorney Jennifer Zarka implied that the death was a suicide, saying Izquierdo was upset and left the state because “a beautiful, young mother” had died “of a single gunshot wound to the head.”

She said the evidence against her client was circumstantial, that there were no witnesses to the shooting and no weapon was found at the scene.

The older daughter said Izquierdo had picked up her, her sister and mother to go to Izquierdo’s mother’s birthday party.

“We had a good time,” but when they got back in the car to leave, “mom and dad started arguing,” the 10-year-old said. “My mom told my dad to leave.”

The girl testified that Nickel put both sisters to bed in her master bedroom upstairs. Before she and her sister fell asleep, she said, she heard a door open, then close, then heard someone walk in.

The girl said she woke up at 4 a.m.

Prosecution witness Lynette Robinson reacts while testifying about finding the body of her daughter, Cora Nickel, as the murder trial of Jorge Izquierdo began Tuesday. He is accused of shooting Nickel, his children’s mother, on Aug. 20, 2020.

Prosecution witness Lynette Robinson reacts while testifying about finding the body of her daughter, Cora Nickel, as the murder trial of Jorge Izquierdo began Tuesday. He is accused of shooting Nickel, his children’s mother, on Aug. 20, 2020.

Charlie Blalock/ Contributor

“I went downstairs because mom wasn’t in bed with us,” she said. “I saw her lying there, with liquid around her. I thought it was a nightmare, and I went back to bed.”

The girl said her little sister woke her up at 7 a.m.

“I told her, ‘I think mom is dead,’ and we both went down to look,” the girl said. “We then said, ‘Mom is dead.’”

Scared, the girls went back upstairs, and the older one began texting and calling Izquierdo on her mother’s phone, she said. The phone went to voicemail, she said.

“I freaked out,” the older sibling said. “I called my grandma and she came immediately.”

The child’s 7-year-old sister gave similar testimony, adding that her father was drinking in the car when they were on the way home from the party.

On cross-examination, Zarka asked each girl if they ever saw their mother with a gun. Each said no, but stated that they knew their father had a gun he kept in his home, and one in his car.

Their grandmother, Lynette Robinson, told the jury she considered the relationship between her daughter and Izquierdo to be “toxic,” with the couple repeatedly splitting up and getting back together. They shared a home for a while, but mostly lived apart.

Robinson said she missed her granddaughter’s phone call, and when she called back, the girl said, “‘Something’s happened, there’s red stuff all over the floor. I think mom is dead.’ They sounded distraught.”

Lynette Robinson reacts to seeing a photo of her daughter Cora Nickel during the murder trail of Jorge Izquierdo.

Lynette Robinson reacts to seeing a photo of her daughter Cora Nickel during the murder trail of Jorge Izquierdo.

Charlie Blalock/ Contributor

Once Robinson got to the house , she went upstairs and immediately took the girls outside. Then, she checked on her daughter.

“As soon as I walked in, I knew,” Robinson said. “I had to physically touch her. She was ice cold.”

When a prosecutor showed Robinson a photograph of her daughter with her girls for a positive identification, Robinson cried.

“I saw my daughter lying on the floor with blood surrounding her,” she told the jury. “Her eyes were wide open.”

The case is being heard in the 175th District Court, Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl presiding. If convicted, Izquierdo faces up to life in prison.

ezavala@express-news.net | Twitter: @elizabeth2863

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