BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The murder trial for a high-profile death that stunned the community in 2017 began in superior court on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Media access was denied, so 23ABC is unable to capture recordings or video.
Prosecutors said the murder took place two years ago on February 22, 2017, when the beloved J's Place Chef, Ray Ingram was shot and killed.
Ingram was shot and killed at a home in South Bakersfield and his girlfriend of 25 years, Michaele Bowers was arrested in connection to his death.
In opening statements, the prosecution said "this is domestic violence that is at its absolute worst and violent consequences."
The defense has chosen to not give their opening statement at this time. The first witness is being called. Kelley Davis with the Bakersfield Police Department has taken the stand.
— Leah Pezzetti (@leahpezzetti) March 5, 2019
March 19, closing statements began. The prosecution went first, opening saying this is a domestic violence case. The prosecution then mapped out the timeline of Bowers and Ingram's relationship leading up to the morning of the killing, describing Bowers as "ambushing" Ingram when she shot him. The prosecution spoke for an hour and a half.
The defense then began their closing statements, opening with a video of defense attorney David A. Torres narrating Bowers' account of the morning of the killing. Bowers claimed the two yelled expletives at each other, with Ingram yelling "I'm going to kill you, bitch." The defense then saying she accidentally pulled the trigger and this is a situation of self defense.
Court documents show that Bowers and Ingram had a child together and Bowers found out Ingram had been seeing another woman. Documents also showed that he had a child with the other woman as well.
The morning of the killing, police said that Bowers texted Ingram a picture of a receipt showing he had purchased two sets of Valentine's gifts, essentially the same gift for each woman.
Documents show that Bowers shot Ingram one time in the neck and then proceeded to call police on herself.
The first day of the trial, three people took the stand. The first was the Bakersfield Police Department dispatcher who took the initial 911 call. The second was Bakersfield Police Officer Aaron Salinas, who was the first officer to respond to the scene. The third was a police lab technician who collected evidence from the crime scene.
Salinas testified that said when he responded, he walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Initially no one answered and he began to look around the outside of the home. When he returned to the front door he said Michaele Bowers was standing in the doorway.
He said she finally opened the screen door and started to talk to him saying that she told him, "I just shot my children's father."
The defense is expected to finish closing statements on Wednesday, March 20 at 9:15 a.m. The prosecution will then be able to give a rebuttal, then the jury will deliberate.