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`Deal’ made his client suspect, lawyer says

SHARE `Deal’ made his client suspect, lawyer says

A handshake.

That's how defense attorneys say Hilario Medina became the key suspect in the death of Edward "Ted" Livsey."This case began with a deal," said defense attorney Steven Shapiro during opening statements for Medina's murder trial Tuesday.

When key witness Roberto Sanchez Martinez was asked by detectives whether he wanted to be a suspect or a witness in the case, Martinez naturally chose to be a witness, Shapiro said.

"Witnesses go free, suspects go to jail," Shapiro said. Martinez is the only one who will testify in the trial that Livsey was beaten, strangled and raped. Why? "Because he was the only one that was there."

However, Martinez, 37, has testified that he was only a spectator to the grisly homicide.

Martinez testified Wednesday that Medina, 32, and Livsey, 62, picked him up Aug. 25 after approaching him near Salt Lake City's homeless shelter and asking him if he wanted a day's work.

Livsey had driven the men around the city for about an hour drinking beer when Medina suggested they go into the mountains, Martinez said. On the way up Emigration Canyon, Martinez asked to be taken back so that he could have lunch at the shelter, but Medina told him "not to worry about it, that they would pay me for a day anyway," Martinez said Wednesday through a court interpreter.

They drove to the end of a road in Emigration Canyon where Medina and Livsey "did sexual things," Martinez testified. They then began to drive down the canyon. Medina began an argument with Livsey, pulled a knife, and ordered him to pull over.

Medina ordered Livsey and Martinez out of the car. "They started arguing there," Martinez said. "I didn't know why they were arguing and I told them I was going to go to the bathroom."

Then Martinez heard Livsey scream. "(Medina) hit him many times in the back of the neck and (Livsey) fell down," Martinez said. "I told him to leave him, don't hit him any more."

Martinez ran to the side of the road to try to alert someone about what was happening, he said. But Medina threatened him with the knife and told him to shut up or he would harm him. "I wanted to interfere, but he wouldn't let me."

Martinez said he saw Medina tie Livsey's hands and ankles with shoelaces from Livsey's tennis shoes, and tie a red bandanna tightly around Livsey's neck. Medina then dragged Livsey behind some bushes.

Medina ordered Martinez into the car and he drove to Mesquite, Nev., where Medina put all the car's contents in a plastic bag. Then they went to Las Vegas, where they were arrested while driving with two other men.

Livsey's children reported him missing that same day, and the body was found the next day by two hikers a half mile above Ruth's Diner, about 3000 E. Emigration Canyon.

Both Medina and Martinez were originally charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and theft, a second-degree felony. But prosecutors allowed Martinez to plead guilty to theft, a class A misdemeanor, in exchange for his testimony.

Martinez has been sentenced to spend one year in jail but will be deported at the conclusion of the trial.

The five-man, three-woman jury is expected to begin deliberations Wednesday afternoon and a verdict may be issued by Thursday morning.