MIAMI – DNA evidence took center stage on Tuesday afternoon during the trial of a man who stands accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s daughter nearly nine years ago in Miami.
The skin under 11-year-old Martha Guzman’s fingernails indicated that she had fought back and by scratching her killer she had helped investigators to identify him as Miguel Ruiz Lobo, according to prosecutors.
“That foreign male DNA profile from the fingernail clippings matches the DNA profile from Miguel Ruiz,” Sharon Hinez, a forensic investigator, said about the skin under Martha’s fingernails.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Ruiz Lobo, 51, who insists he didn’t kill Martha. His trial for the June 22, 2014 murder in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood began on April 3.
A woman who lived with Ruiz Lobo also testified on Tuesday. Aracely Andino said she was never going to forget the day when Martha, who she lovingly referred to as “La Chinita,” was killed.
“I screamed and cried, and cried,” Andino said in Spanish about her reaction to the news.
Andino said her son is married to Martha’s older sister. She said that when Martha’s mother, Amaury Albarenga, and Ruiz Lobo broke up, she rented a room to him at her apartment for $400 a month — a decision she would come to regret.
After learning about Martha’s murder, she said she quickly knocked on Ruiz Lobo’s door and told him Martha had been killed. She said the two rushed to the crime scene to meet with Albarenga.
Andino also said that even after she learned that he was a suspect, Ruiz Lobo continued living in her house.
“I didn’t think he would do anything to me,” Andino said in Spanish.
Detectives accused Ruiz Lobo of slashing Martha’s wrists and stabbing her in the neck after obtaining surveillance video showing him arriving at Albarenga’s apartment when Martha was home alone and leaving before Albarenga found her dead.
The jury recently watched the video. Detectives believe it took Ruiz Lobo about 30 minutes to kill Martha. The video shows Ruiz Lobo arriving shortly before 10:30 a.m. and leaving at about 11 a.m. Earlier in the trial, Albarenga testified about the gruesome crime scene through tears.
“She had three cuts in the neck and the knife stuck in her throat,” Albarenga said on April 4 in Spanish.