In the fourth day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Max Montijo LaMadrid, prosecutors faced another uncooperative witness.
LaMadrid is accused of killing 16-year old student Tanee Natividad in Nov. 2001. This is the third time the Pima County Attorney’s Office has brought the case to trial, the two priors ending in hung juries.
On Friday, state’s witness Roland Hernandez, who was at the scene in 2001 and was a friend of LaMadrid, repeatedly told prosecutors he didn’t remember details from that night nearly 12 years ago.
“Where I’m from, people don’t talk to the police,” Hernandez told Deputy Pima County Attorney Mark Diebolt.
Diebolt read passages from a transcript of a police interview with Hernandez from the night of the killing and asked whether the witness remembered making any of the statements.
Hernandez said he was a frequent drug user at the time and was drunk and on numerous drugs the night Natividad was killed.
“I’m doing the best I can,” Hernandez later told Diebolt when the prosecutor suggested the witness displayed a better memory when the defense questioned him.
In police interviews from 2001, Hernandez said he saw LaMadrid run east on Speedway with a gun drawn and later heard gunfire.
Natividad was shot in the head and died early in the morning on Nov. 2001. She had been with her boyfriend at a Jack in the Box drive-thru shortly after 2 a.m. when a fight started in the parking lot between two groups of friends.
Gunfire broke out and another man was shot and killed and in retaliation, Diebolt said, LaMadrid took a gun from the car he was in and at shot at vehicles fleeing the scene.
When questioned by LaMadrid defense attorney Dan Cooper, Henandez said he didn’t know if the defendant shot anyone.
“That’s the truth,” he said. “I didn’t see him shoot no one.”
The trial continues next week in Pima County Superior Court.