Witnesses and police describe horrific crime scene of murdered attorney

New details in homicide of local attorney
Documents show suspect in attorney murder case connected to other crimes
Posted at 12:55 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 18:10:37-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — "It was one of the most horrific scenes of my career," said one officer who testified Thursday in the Nicholas Quintana trial.

Quintana, 22, is accused of stabbing to death Bakersfield attorney Marcos Vargas in November 2017.

During the trial Thursday, several witnesses and investigators testified to the grisly scene left at the Golden Valley Luxury Apartments where Vargas was killed.

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Christopher Bagby, one of the investigators, testified to the pools of blood throughout the victim's apartment and outside the rest of the complex. He described crime scene photos that depicted blood on the furniture and walls of the apartment. A trail of blood droplets was described leaving the apartment. Bagby said the blood splatter indicated the victim left the apartment and did not return.

Along with police, several residents who lived in the apartment complex testified to what they saw and heard the night of Nov. 28, 2017.

Jim and Ashlee Hembree lived in the apartment next to Vargas. They both testified that night, they heard loud banging noise and what sounded like moaning or grunting. When they checked outside, they both saw their neighbor standing there, covered in blood.

"From the head to the toes," Ashlee Hembree testified. She said she went to the kitchen to get a towel for her neighbor, but when she looked back outside he was laying in the grass.

Jim Hembree described what he believed were his neighbor's final moments. He said he saw his neighbor holding his neck and covered in blood from his mouth all the way down his entire body. He said just standing there a pool of blood was gathering at his feet.

"I had no real medical training," Hembree said. "All I could do really was tell him help is on its way and I'm here with you."

Hembree testified that Vargas was sitting in the grass when his hand dropped from his neck. Hembree said at that time he believed Vargas had died.

Estefania Guzman and her brother Rafael lived in an apartment together. Estefania said that night, she went to bed early but was awoken in the middle of the night by "very loud banging" and "very odd moaning sounds." She said she looked out the window and saw a pool of blood. That's when she told her brother.

Rafael testified that when opened the door and went outside and saw Vargas dead on the floor. He said a police officer told him to go back inside.

During opening statements, prosecutors said Quintana and Vargas met on a dating app. Prosecutor Eric Smith said cell phone records put Quintana in the area the night of the murder and his cell phone was then tracked to Long Beach, near where Vargas' phone was found.

Quintana's defense attorney Timothy Hennessy said during opening statements that his client is not a murderer, but a kid with a secret.