Lerma was 'Lilmisspopular' on Snapchat; Cries "Nobody Likes Me!"
SAN ANGELO, TX -- Krystal Nicole Lerma is on trial for burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit another felony for her role in the double homicide on Rio Grande St. in San Angelo in 2016. Testimony in her emotionally charged jury trial began Tuesday morning.
The jury was selected Monday and testimony began after opening statements Tuesday morning by District Attorney Allison Palmer and defense attorney Jimmy Stewart.
Andrew Gonzales and Anthony Martinez were shot multiple times in a home invasion style attack on September 12, 2016. Lerma’s role was laid out before the jury Tuesday in brutal detail including pictures of the bodies of Gonzales and Martinez at the scene.
Palmer’s first witness was Karen Bloss who is a dispatch supervisor for the San Angelo Public Safety Communications Center which takes 911 calls in San Angelo and dispatches police and emergency personnel. Palmer was building her case that officers responded to the scene and the 911 call was recorded accurately.
Next on the stand was home owner Shae McClure who owns a home a few houses down and across the street from the crime scene at 1007 Rio Grande St. McClure testified that he had a video surveillance system with six cameras and he provided San Angelo Police Department investigators with video from the night of September 12, 2016 when the murders took place.
Palmer called seven witnesses in all Tuesday. SAPD officer Brad Howarth was next on the stand. It was during Howarth’s testimony that the jury saw pictures of the bullet riddled and bloody bodies of the victims at the scene.
Bobby Holleman was the neighbor who lived in the other half of the duplex on Rio Grande St. He’s the one who called 911. Palmer played the audio of the 911 call in which Holleman told the dispatcher there was fighting and gunfire at the residence. He told 911 that one of the victims was lying in the front yard bleeding and yelling for help. Holleman told the jury, “I dove to the floor and covered up my head!” when the shooting started. Crime Scene Technicians found a bullet in a wall in Holleman’s side of the duplex.
After Holleman’s testimony, Palmer called SAPD CID Detective Lynn Dye. During his testimony, Palmer showed the jury a video of the crime scene showing blood stains and bullet holes, spent shell casings and other evidence at the scene. Palmer also played the surveillance video from McClure’s home down and across the street which showed a four door pickup drive up with its lights off and park in front of McClure’s home. McClure was not home at the time. The video also shows people exiting the truck and then getting back in the truck about 8 minutes later and driving off.
Then the District Attorney called SAPD CID detective Eddie Chavarria to the stand. Chavarria testified that he obtained a search warrant and downloaded all communications from two cell phones and an IPad found at the scene. That’s when testimony showed that Krystal Lerma’s username on Snapchat was ‘Lilmisspopular.’ She was snapping with ‘Rayalvarado96,’ who was identified as Raymond Alvarado who was convicted of being the only shooter at the crime scene.
Chavarria’s testimony included a conversation on Snapchat between lilmisspopular and rayalvarado96 in which lilmisspopular snaps, “If I do my part, I want a TV.” Rayalvarado96 responds, “IDC (I Don’t Care)” and lilmisspopular responds, “My baby’s broke so I really need one.”
The last witness of the day was SAPD CID Detective Adrian Castro. Castro was one of the investigators who interviewed Lerma on two separate occasions.
It was during Castro’s testimony that the jury heard that Raymond Alvarado was the only one at the crime scene with a gun and that testimony showed Alvarado shot Gonzales and Martinez and in the process shot himself in the hand.
Alvarado was wanted for murder and Castro acquired his phone number. While investigators were waiting on it to ping or locate, he decided to ask permission to just call Alvarado. Castro called Alvarado’s cell, and Alvarado answered. Alvarado told Castro that he would talk to SAPD officer Bobby Elrod because he had a previous relationship with him. Castro got Elrod and Alvarado on the phone where Alvarado admitted to being at the scene and having a gun. That was enough for Castro to ask for a warrant for Alvarado’s arrest.
Alvarado ran and was eventually captured in Michigan.
Palmer the turned to two videotaped interviews with Krystal Lerma. Jurors watched Lerma sit in a chair in the interview room at the San Angelo Police Department for about 15 minutes by herself. Jurors squirmed, looked around and like the rest of us, were wondering what we were watching. Eventually, Detectives entered the room and began questioning Lerma.
That’s when jurors learned Lerma had a relationship with Raymond Alvarado and then had a relationship with Andrew Gonzales. Lerma said during the video that Alvarado wanted to fight Gonzales because of that relationship.
In the first video interview, Lerma denied even being at the scene. Investigators, though had video evidence and witness testimony that she was there. It was during that interview that Lerma told investigators, “Nobody likes me!” She was emotional at the time. She also said, “This makes me sick! I’ll never get over this.” and “I don’t know I honestly don’t know!”
Castro told Lerma in the interview that he had talked to Alvarado. She seemed surprised and said, “That truth should exclude me!” At the end of that interview, Lerma told investigators, “I’m not playing a game! I don’t know what to tell you! I was at home with my kids.”
Lerma told investigators there was no one at home with her who could corroborate her story.
During the second interview, Lerma is visibly different. She looks nervous and scared. She begins the interview by saying, “I’m going to be 100 percent honest with you this time.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you guys last time.”
Lerma proceeded to tell this story. “Me and Andrew had sex and stuff but we weren’t serious.” She continued her story laced with the ‘F’ word and said “I talked to Ray once a week.”
Lerma described the night of the murders. She said she was ‘snapping’ with Gonzales and that he was drinking with friends and she wanted some weed. Gonzales asked her to come over to his house. She said she would. Lerma testified that she was wearing ‘bed clothes’ but went to his house to get the weed. She said she got lost, and ended up on the phone with Gonzales as she drove around the back of his residence, down the driveway and parked in front of his house.
Lerma testified that she went inside and Gonzales and Martinez were there. She was embarrassed that Martinez was there because she was wearing bed clothes, which she described in the video as no bra, no pants, only shorts and a t-shirt. She said Gonzales was drunk and kissing her and touching her. She kept saying ‘whatever’ while he got her a small amount of weed from his stash.
Lerma testified that she left and drove around the block and was on the phone with Gonzales and he got her to drive back in front of her house. She went back in for a brief time and then left and that’s when Ray Alvarado pushed his way past her at the front door and went into the house. Lerma’s video testimony then showed that she, “F***ing ran! I was freaking out!”
Testimony showed that Justin Gamez was driving a four door pickup and that Ray Alvarado and Ricky Zuniga were with him. The neighbor, Holleman, testified that he saw a petite woman come out of 1007 Rio Grande and watched as three men pushed past her into the residence. Then he heard gunshots and a short time later found a man bleeding pleading for help in the front yard so he called 911.
The state is expected to rest its case Wednesday morning. Krystal Lerma’s jury trial begins again Wednesday in the Tom Green County Courthouse.