Defendant's daughter takes stand in murder trial
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The trial continues of a father accused of killing his ex-wife's husband, as the defendant's young daughter took to the stand.
Cristobal Palacios is accused of shooting and killing his ex-wife's husband, Paul Winters, in front of Palacios' home in South Kendall, on Oct. 17, 2008.
Winters and his wife allegedly arrived at Palacios' home to drop off Palacios' twin boy and girl, who were then 6 years old. That is reportedly when the shooting occurred.
The twins witnessed their stepfather being murdered by their biological father, Palacios. The twin girl, now 10 years old, testified against her father in his murder trial on Tuesday. "He was smiling," the girl said.
Attorney: "Who was smiling?"
Attorney: "When was he smiling?"
Girl: "When he was shooting ... Cris started shooting him."
Attorney: "Cris started shooting at who?"
According to the defendant's legal team, the shooting was in self-defense. "Paul Winters had been threatening Cris for years. Put a gun to his head, told him he was going to shoot his head off, did it in front of his family," said defense attorney Mike Walsh, "and on this particular day, Paul Winters got out of the van and charged directly at Cris."
Winters was shot six times, twice in the back, prosecutors said. No weapon was found on or near Winters' body which, according to police, lay near the driveway of Palacios' home.
The prosecution said when Palacios' ex-wife remarried, her new husband, Winters, suffered the consequences of her divorce and the ongoing custody battle for the former couple's twins. "Paul became [Palacios'] target. Paul became the target of harassment, of threats, of accusations," said Assistant State Attorney Christine Hernandez-Baldwin.
However, defense attorney Walsh said, "It's unfortunate that his kids were there, but Paul Winters was the architect of his own sentence."
The twin boy was scheduled to testify Tuesday, but the court instead played a previously-recorded deposition from both twins.
The trial resumes Wednesday at 1 p.m.
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