PASCO -- A Pasco woman tearfully recounted the night she claims her boyfriend tried to kill her by stabbing her in the neck.
The 23-year-old woman testified against her then live-in boyfriend Thursday in Franklin County Superior Court on the first day of testimony in an attempted murder trial.
"He grabbed my hair and reached down (to his pocket to grab the knife) ... and he pulled me back and just stabbed me," Diana Salgado said about Serafin Gandara-Medina. "He pulled it out to stab me again and I was fighting him back."
Salgado said she begged for her life and repeatedly told him she loved him until she convinced him to let her go and take her to the hospital.
Gandara-Medina, 26, is charged with second-degree attempted murder for stabbing Salgado on Nov. 20, and intimidating a witness after allegedly sending her a threatening letter from the Franklin County jail in February.
The defense case, however, revolves around the claim that Salgado stabbed herself and Gandara-Medina took the blame because he said he loved his girlfriend and didn't want to see her go to jail.
Deputy Prosecutor Brian Hultgrenn told jurors this case is about a jealous man who didn't like his girlfriend talking to other men and tried to kill her when she tried to kick him out of her apartment.
"Jealousy is a very powerful emotion. Jealousy can lead to conflict between two people. It can even lead to violence," Hultgrenn said in his opening statements. "This is a case about a jealousy so powerful it actually led the defendant to attempt murder."
After officers were called to Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco, where Salgado had been taken for treatment, they found Gandara-Medina with blood on his pants and arrested him. They also found bloody sheets, a blood-soaked pillow and the knife in the bushes outside her Court Street apartment where Salgado tossed it to keep it away from Gandara-Medina, he said.
When interviewed by detectives, Gandara-Medina told them "in detail about his jealousy. About the rage he felt when he thought Diana was being unfaithful," Hultgrenn said.
Three months later, Gandara-Medina allegedly sent a letter from jail to Salgado, but it had someone else's name listed as the sender.
The letter, written in big block handwriting, said, "her days were numbered, that she could not hide from death and that it wouldn't do her any good to leave because he would find her," Hultgrenn said.
Defense attorney Karla Kane told another story about jealousy to the jury during her opening statements. She said the evidence will show that Salgado got upset when Gandara-Medina told her he was going back to his wife and two children.
"She wasn't happy," Kane said in her opening argument. "While they were fighting, she took the knife and stabbed herself in an attempt to take her own life."
Gandara-Medina was the one who got Salgado's young daughters in the car and drove her to the hospital, she said. Hedidn't realize the consequence when he took the blame because he was worried about who was going to take care of Salgado's children if she went to jail.
"He made the decision to take the blame ... in an attempt in trying to save her and keep the mother there for her children," Kane said. "At the end of the trial, evidence will show that's what happened."