LUBBOCK, Texas – A Lubbock jury found Juan Carlos Gallardo, 47, guilty of murdering a 28-year-old woman.
During the trial, Gallardo made the case that he was threatening to kill himself and Yvette Ellis got into a scuffle with him. He claimed the gun went off.
But prosecutors told the jury not to believe his story.
Prosecutors told the jury there was a history of domestic violence and her shooting death was no accident.
The trial started with jury selection on Monday. The verdict was right after lunch on Friday.
On Thursday, co-workers of Ellis said they had seen signs of domestic violence. They said they had all seen bruises and abrasions, and they also noticed a change in her appearance and demeanor.
Another co-worker said “I just wanted [Ellis] to leave.” The co-worker said that at least once a week there was an incident with Ellis and Gallardo.
Gallardo told Ellis he would kill her if she left, according to the testimony.
Another co-worker who took the witness stand said that Ellis was shut down in spirit and appeared gloomy. The co-worker said Ellis had shown some marks on her neck and “opened up a little bit about domestic violence that was going on at her house.”
The co-worker described other injuries, like imprints of fingernails on Ellis’ neck and a black eye once or twice.
Further into the testimony, witnesses said Ellis “couldn’t give out her phone number” and that Gallardo wouldn’t let her drive her own car.
Gallardo apparently had pulled a gun out in the car in the parking lot at Ellis’ job and had done so several times at their house, according to a witness.
Dr. Margaret Basset, testified as an expert witness in domestic violence.
She testified about “power and control, a pattern of behavior that allows the abuser to get control over the other person.”
“The impact is to create fear,” said Basset. “The abuser will look for vulnerabilities and then look for tactics to manipulate the vulnerabilities or create vulnerabilities.”
She added that another strategy is isolation. She used the example that the abuser will move the victim away from family and friends, or not allow that to have a car. It is subtle but really effective emotional and psychological isolation, said Basset.
The punishment phase of the trial is next, which will start Monday. Check back for updates.