- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2005

BALTIMORE — A witness testified yesterday that one of the two men accused of nearly decapitating her 10-year-old son and two of his cousins had made romantic advances toward her over the telephone.

“I wasn’t interested in having a relationship,” Maria Andrea Espejo Quezada testified about Adan Canela. “I hung up on him. I hung up.”

Alexis Espejo Quezada, 10, and Lucero Solis Quezada, 8, and her brother Ricardo Solis Quezada, 9, were found slain May 27, 2004, in an apartment in Baltimore.

Mr. Canela, 18, and Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 23, are on trial, charged with three counts of murder and conspiracy.

Mrs. Quezada said Mr. Canela called her seeking a relationship a month before the killings.

Throughout her testimony, Mrs. Quezada wiped her eyes and nose, spoke hoarsely and, one time, abruptly left the courtroom.

Mrs. Quezada said she, Alexis, and her 2-year-old daughter had arrived in Baltimore in January 2004 and lived with her aunt.

Alexis was born in Mexico City, attended school there through third grade and then moved to a school in California in December 2002.

About a week before the killings, Alexis celebrated his 10th birthday. Mr. Canela attended the celebration because the party was at the aunt’s house and family members had been invited. Mrs. Quezada said she felt she could not object.

“He looked older based on the way he was dressed, his physical appearance,” said Mrs. Quezada. “I thought he was 22. … I think that was the last time I saw him.”

Mrs. Quezada said her aunt, who had just been released from the hospital after suffering a miscarriage, was with her when they drove to the Falstaff apartment to pick up the three children after school at about 4:30 p.m. May 27.

“When I arrived and rang the bell, my son didn’t come out. He always came to greet me,” Mrs. Quezada said. “I don’t know how to describe what I was seeing when I arrived. It was like seeing, like something was going to happen.”

The women eventually entered the house.

“The children. I went in. I saw my son and I began to yell,” Mrs. Quezada testified. “My aunt said, ‘My children have been killed.’ I said, ‘Don’t say that.’”

Sometime before the slayings, Mrs. Quezada said, Mr. Canela’s father, Victor Espinoza Perez, had tried to make a pass at her. As they sat next to each other on a sofa one evening, “He put out his hand to touch my arm,” she said.

“I asked him, ‘What is the matter with you?’” Mrs. Quezada testified. “I told him, ‘I’m not interested in you.’ … He didn’t try to touch my arm again. We just talked.”

Mrs. Quezada said the aunt noticed and said, “You could see a change in her about me.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Sharon R. Holback asked whether the incident with Victor Espinoza Perez had “anything to do with your son’s murder.”

“I don’t think so,” Mrs. Quezada replied.

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