Just weeks before she was stabbed to death, Griselda Ocampo Meza got a letter from her ex-boyfriend saying he was full of rage, couldn't control his emotions and that she would have to pay "for every offense committed" during their relationship.
"I cannot be stopped by anyone or anything. I will carry out any threat made to you," Gregorio Luna Luna wrote, according to evidence introduced Tuesday in his murder trial.
"You will shed every tear that I shed with interest and you will long for death like I long for it," the letter said. "You mock me and you feel like you have every right to humiliate me. ... Enjoy every minute while you still have left to do it."
Ocampo Meza, 21, called Pasco police April 30, 2010, after receiving the threatening letter. It was one of six from Luna Luna that she handed over to Officers Kevin Erickson and Raul Cavazos.
Never miss a local story.
The last letter made it clear for jurors that Luna Luna was in custody as he reportedly made threatening statements to the woman who had ended their relationship after seven years of dating.
But what the Franklin County jury was not told was that Luna Luna was in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma at the time, awaiting his eventual deportation May 1 to Mexico. He was handed over to federal agents more than six weeks after his arrest for domestic violence and malicious harassment involving Ocampo Meza.
Luna Luna clearly was not happy about the recent turn of events, accusing Ocampo Meza of turning to another man to fulfill her fantasies and claiming that he had just learned the couple's 5-year-old son was not really his.
He said he regretted the day he decided to wait for her and bring her with him, likely referencing the young family's move from Mexico to Washington.
"Be calm. Enjoy the time I am locked up as very little of it remains. Hide. Ask for help. Disappear from the world if possible and take your siblings and family with you," Luna Luna wrote in Spanish. The letter was translated to English for the case, and read to jurors by Special Prosecutor Andy Miller.
"I hate you. I loathe you. Two times I forgave you, two times. I was a coward for not ending things with you," Luna Luna continued, using several vulgar terms when referring to Ocampo Meza. "I hate the day I met you. ... I will kill everyone slowly."
Ocampo Meza was killed early May 24, 2010, inside her Pasco apartment. She died from a single stab wound to her chest during a fight with Luna Luna.
The 32-year-old man is charged in Franklin County Superior Court with aggravated first-degree murder, and second-degree murder as an alternative.
His trial now is in its second week.
Luna Luna and Ocampo Meza started dating when they lived in Mexico and over the course of their relationship often referred to each other as husband and wife. She ended things in early January 2010.
Prosecutors allege the couple had a history of domestic violence with several calls to police. At the time of her death, there were two court orders against Luna Luna to stay away from her and the boy.
Luna Luna returned to the Pacific Northwest shortly after her was deported, though an exact date is not known. He stayed off and on with longtime friend Oscar Cortez, his wife Robin Cole and their children at the family's Snohomish home.
Cortez said he understood that his friend came to live with them because "he wanted to have a new life." Luna Luna was working in Snohomish, he said.
On May 23, 2010, Luna Luna asked to borrow their Mazda Protege so he could go wash his clothes and maybe catch a movie, Cole testified Tuesday. But instead, Luna Luna drove to the Tri-Cities.
Cortez said he got a call later that day from Luna Luna apologizing for taking the car. Luna Luna told his friend that he was in Pasco, that he'd seen Ocampo Meza at a restaurant with another person and that they had argued.
"And what else did he tell you?" asked Special Prosecutor Anita Petra.
"That he was very angry. That he had decided to kill Griselda," Cortez testified.
He added that he told Luna Luna: "To think about the problems that would be coming. To think about his son first of all. He said that his son deserved, or was better living with another family, instead of having a crazy father or a mother who was a w----."
Cortez said he then tried to reach Ocampo Meza but ended up leaving a message. She called him back five minutes later and he tried to warn her that her ex wanted her dead.
"I told her that she knew that (Luna Luna) was in Pasco, and that ... he had made a decision to harm her. She said that she was responsible for her own actions, that each person was responsible for their own actions," Cortez testified. "I told her not to stay in her own home, to go to the police department, but she didn't pay attention to that."
Hours later, Luna Luna reportedly called his friend and said "he had done what he had set out to do."
Luna Luna then asked his friend for a favor -- to pick him up in Ellensburg -- but Cortez said he couldn't. Cortez added that the call came in after 4 a.m.
Ocampo Meza was confronted by Luna Luna at 4 a.m. May 24, 2010, and pushed his way into her home.
Her new boyfriend, Jairo Flores-Flores, rushed the little boy from the house to safety.
Defense lawyers say their client went into the home only intending to get his son so the boy could be raised in his own culture in Mexico.
Luna Luna was arrested hours after the slaying.
On Tuesday, jurors watched a video of his nearly two-hour interview with Pasco detectives Kirk Nebeker and Scott Warren. Because Nebeker conducted it in Spanish, the jury was given a printout of the English translation to follow.
Luna Luna claimed that Flores-Flores came at him with a knife and the two struggled over it. Then, when Ocampo Meza stepped in and tried to break up the fight, she somehow got stabbed, Luna Luna claimed.
Except for a brief moment when Luna Luna sobbed over his son and said the kid needs his father, he remained very calm for the two hours while sitting straight up with his hands on a table.
Luna Luna refused to believe that his ex-girlfriend was dead.
"She has passed away. I will go get the pictures of that. You want to see the pictures of that?" Warren said in the interview. "I don't want to show you those pictures. You don't need to see that. Remember the good things of her."
Warren encouraged Luna Luna to do the right thing for his son by being honest, instead of calling the young boy a liar for his account of what happened.
Luna Luna had no reaction when shown pictures of Ocampo Meza's body, even as Nebeker pounded the table while repeating that she is dead and isn't it a pity.
Warren encouraged Luna Luna to give his side of the story, saying only he could help himself and needs "to man up and at least take responsibility."
"So you're a cold-blooded killer?" he asked. "Don't shake your head 'No.' Shake your head 'Yes.' "
Toward the end of the interview, Warren gave Luna Luna one final chance to confess.
"Look at me and tell me, 'I did not do that,' if you did not do that," he said. Luna Luna reportedly answered that he couldn't do that.
The case is being handled by Miller, the Benton County prosecutor, and Petra, a Benton County deputy prosecutor, because of a conflict with the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office.
Testimony continues today at the Franklin County Courthouse.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com