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Defense to Focus on Speed, Traffic Light and Witness Testimony in Pumar Trial

The first day of testimony in the People v. Matthew Pumar began Friday at the Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse in Palo Alto.

A fourteen person jury—seven women, seven men all who appeared to be more than 35 years old—will determine whether or not the facts demonstrate and the district attorney's office—represented by Duffy Magilligan—proves that Pumar, 22, committed gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of William "Bill" Ware on the morning of June 21, 2012 in Mountain View.

Defense attorney Dennis Smith questioned the first prosecution witness Tedmund Muñoz's ability to estimate the speed of Pumar's gray 2004 Audi Sedan. Muñoz guessed the vehicle traveled 70 mph and accelerated to 80 mph—in a 35 mph—but told the jury that he was confident light was red when Pumar ran the red light.

The second witness, Joshua Bailey, testified that he waited in his work van at the left turn pocket to turn southbound onto Escuela Avenue from California Street. He said his light was green and he pulled into the intersection as the light turned yellow, but not before ensuring there were no pedestrians in crosswalk. He didn't remember looking for eastbound traffic before turning—the direction from where Pumar's car approached.

Jesus Rivera, with the help of a Spanish language interpreter, testified that he sat for about a minute at a red light waiting to cross California Street on Escuela Avenue toward El Camino Real. From his view he saw Bailey's white van waiting to turn left.

When Bailey began to complete his turn, Rivera's light turned green. He testified that as a driver of elderly Alzheimer's patients, he's been trained to wait three second before proceeding into any intersection. That's when he saw a gray car enter the intersection and turn right.

"That's when the collision occurred on the right hand side at the bus stop," Rivera said. "The gray car turned around, but before it hit the man."

Rivera was adamant that his traffic light was green before he entered intersection. He testified that Pumar's car ran the red light.

The last witness for the prosecution—Tatiana Yurochkina—was a pedestrian on her way to Starbucks to use the Internet when she witnessed the collision. Yurochkina testified she waited to cross southbound on California Street parallel to Escuela Avenue.

Yurochkina said she began to cross the intersection when she saw "the little white man" and took two steps when a gray car pass in front of her.

Since Bailey's van was in the intersection, Pumar's car swerved. She couldn't see what happened, but then she heard a sound—the Audi hitting the bus stop. Yurochkina began to run across the street calling 9-1-1, and wanted to offer her assistance when she a body part.

It's something she "prefers not to think about."

The jury heard very little graphic detail about the injuries to Ware, but they heard extensive explanations about where and when Pumar's vehicle was in relation to Bailey's car that Thursday morning.

"People who aren't expert at diagraming an intersection or understanding how fast a car is going are being asked to be specific," said Jim Ware, brother of the deceased. "I think they basically told the same story with some variations."

Those variations will be what the prosecution will try to keep at minimum and what the defense will try to exploit.

The defense had no comments for Patch.

The trial continues on Monday, Sept. 9 at 9 a.m. in Palo Alto.

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