VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — Testimony in the murder trial of Luis Toledo continued on Thursday.
Jurors watched the first of hours of videotaped interviews with Toledo, shortly after his wife and children disappeared in Oct. 2013.
A juror had to be replaced after she fell on her way into the courthouse and injured herself.
After changes were agreed on by all attorneys, the state started presenting the videotaped interviews with Toledo.
The first video showed Toledo being interviewed by Volusia County Sheriff Sgt. Albert Pagliari on the day his wife, Yessenia Suarez, and her children, Thalia and Michael, were reported missing by Yessenia’s mother.
In the video, Toledo had not yet been charged with the murders.
Toledo recounts to Pagliari how he learned his wife was having an affair with a co-worker, Kevin Dredden.
Toledo said he had confronted the two at work in Lake Mary the day before, then continued a conversation with his wife at her mother’s home that night.
Toledo claimed he and Yessenia had agreed to divorce but that she and the children later returned home.
He claimed they continued talking and Toledo said he left the house at 1 a.m. to clear his head. Toledo said he got back home at about 3:30 a.m., fell asleep in his car, then woke up at 8 a.m.
“So I got up, I went into the house and when I walked into the house, like I realized that the house was empty, nobody was there. I said, ‘Damn, she didn’t even wake me up,'” Toledo said on the interview tape.
Toledo told Pagliari he left for work but turned around because he almost ran out of gas. The state claimed he had a quarter tank left. Toledo said he arrived home to find his mother-in-law and the sheriff’s department.
In the next taped interview, Toledo’s story changes.
Toledo recounted that he had been having fights with Yessenia, but after he returned home, he brought his neighbor, Tyshawn Jackson, over to play video games.
Toledo claimed in the tape that his wife woke up angry and scratched him while Jackson was there. He told investigators in the tape that he used a karate chop to hit his wife in the neck, in a fit of anger.
“She stopped breathing, she stopped breathing. She died looking at me,” Toledo said in the tape. “I couldn’t help it. Please, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it.”
According to Toledo, his stepchildren woke up and saw their mother, which is when he told Jackson to get the children away.
“He hit them with an axe. I didn’t even know what side he hit them with. There was blood everywhere,” Toledo said. “I saw my daughter take her last breath.”
Toledo said Jackson told him he killed the children to eliminate witnesses. Under Jackson’s directions, Toledo said they put the bodies in the trunk of a car for Jackson to dispose of.
Prosecutors have previously stated Jackson played no role in the actual murders.
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