The prosecution rested Thursday in the trial of a San Jacinto man accused of gunning down a professional boxer in what prosecutors allege was a “thrill kill.”
Manuel Edmundo Guzman, 19, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted in the May 30, 2011, slaying of Eddie Leal.
Testimony in the case began Feb. 5, and Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon called his last witnesses this afternoon, including sheriff’s detectives who testified they had collected items from Guzman’s house bearing traces of gunshot residue.
The defense is slated Friday to call its only two witnesses in the case. Guzman faces charges of first-degree murder as well as a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, plus gun and great bodily injury allegations.
A forensic technician testified Wednesday that her examination of five bullet casings left at the murder scene did not test positive for any trace of the defendant’s saliva or sweat but acknowledged that so-called “touch DNA” is almost always dismissed as inconclusive anyway.
According to the prosecution, Guzman posed on Facebook as a young woman, “Rebecca Santhiago,” seeking male companionship and was contacted by Leal.
DeLimon alleges the defendant was interested in one thing — finding an easy target to snuff out for his own entertainment.
According to sheriff’s investigators, around 2 a.m. on the day of the attack, Leal drove his Toyota Corolla to the 1900 block of Roanoke Street, near Ivy Crest Drive, a short distance from Guzman’s family residence.
Shortly after arriving, the 23-year-old was shot multiple times in the back. He died at the scene.
Detectives seized the defendant’s home computer and allegedly confirmed that he was the person who had established the bogus Facebook account. A search of Leal’s computer revealed he had been in contact with that fictitious person, according to testimony.
Leal, a lifelong San Jacinto resident, was an avid boxer who had been trained by his father and had just begun fighting professionally as a bantamweight.