ELKO — Eduardo Estrada-Puentes, 34, is scheduled to be arraigned in district court Monday on an open murder charge in the 2011 death of his estranged wife.

The arraignment will be at 9 a.m. in the Elko County Jail Courtroom on Silver Street with Judge Al Kacin presiding.

Estrada-Puentes was bound over to district court in March by Elko Justice of the Peace Mason Simons, almost five years after he allegedly strangled Stephanie Gonzalez.

After a day and a half of testimony by family, friends and investigators in Elko Justice Court, Simons found “slight or marginal evidence” that Estrada-Puentes committed open murder, including first-degree murder and all lesser offenses.

Lidia Cortes, who has become a proponent against domestic violence in the time following her daughter’s death, was the first witness called to the stand.

The next day the defense asked Simons to bind over Estrada Puentes on “a theory of first-degree murder,” said Sherburne Macfarlan, explaining there are three elements to first-degree murder the State must prove: it was willful, premeditated and deliberate.

“What I’m suggesting to this court is the State has not shown premeditation or deliberation,” he said.

Deputy District Attorney Chad Thompson said premeditation can occur seconds or minutes before an event such as this one.

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In this case, the State argued premeditation is shown by the time it takes for strangulation to occur.

Dr. Piotr Kubiczek of the Washoe County Crime Lab said the results of the autopsy supported Gonzalez died by strangulation. He came to this conclusion because of the presence of abrasions and small areas of bleeding on the surface of the skin, known as petechiae.

According to Free Press files, the amended criminal complaint on a charge of open murder was filed Sept. 27, 2011, and can include first-degree murder and all lesser included offenses.

According to NRS, sentencing for first-degree murder can include life without parole; life with a 20-year minimum for parole; or 50 years with a minimum of 20 years for parole.


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