When a woman collapsed in a Doney Park lawn with multiple stab wounds, it was her 11-year-old daughter who stayed on the line with 911 dispatchers as neighbors attempted life-saving efforts.
“My dad went to his truck and drove off,” the daughter testified in Coconino Country Superior Court Tuesday. “My mother ran to the yard and passed out.”
The murder trial against 41-year-old Timothy Max Duran was presented in court this week as attorneys delivered opening statements. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and the other felony domestic violence charges against him.
Coconino County Deputy Attorney Bryan Shea stood before the jury as he accused Duran of stabbing his wife, Crystal Morgan, 35, more than two dozen times with a screwdriver and a carving fork in March of 2019.
The trial for Duran comes after it was originally scheduled in July of last year, but was delayed multiple times in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Shea told the jury they will hear eyewitness testimony from family members and neighbors over the course of the three-week trial in the Coconino County Superior Court. He argued there is forensic evidence, including blood found on Duran, tying him to the crime.
Duran’s defense attorney, Greg Parzych, said he does not plan to "dispute much of what occurred.” Instead, he said, the defense will attempt to prove that the murder was not a premeditated act.
Parzych argued Duran has displayed impulsive behavioral tendencies since he was a child. He said the jury will hear testimony from a psychologist explaining how Duran’s “complex thought patterns” manifested into violent actions on the day of Morgan’s death.
“In the heat of this emotional event that divorce is, and the passion that comes out in divorce situations, you will hear about these behavioral tendencies and these character traits,” Parzych said.
Morgan was pronounced dead on the scene by sheriff's deputies. The family’s great-grandmother, Louise Lovelace, was also injured during the incident.
Lovelace was sent to the hospital to be treated for a stab wound on her hand. She told deputies she got behind Duran and attempted to pull him off of Morgan, but failed, and Duran continued stabbing Morgan.
Sheriff authorities reported Duran was found with dried blood on his left ear and the side of his head, with a scratch near his neck.
Mom ‘started crying,’ daughter testifies
The daughter was among the first to testify in front of the jury and recounted the terrifying moments of March 21, 2019.
She testified she had spent the previous day changing the locks on the family house with her mother and great-grandmother just days after Duran had moved out of the home.
The daughter testified Tuesday about that same evening, saying that hours before the attack she received a call from her father and answered on speaker phone. She said her mother grew concerned and called the police after hearing Duran tell the 11-year-old to “get a rope and hang [herself].”
Duran showed up at the family home the next morning around 7 a.m. and knocked on the front door, according to the daughter’s testimony. When the family went to answer the door, Duran “crashed” through the back window.
The daughter said a fight broke out between her parents, and she attempted to throw items from around the house to stop Duran.
She claimed in front of the jury that she had witnessed Duran grab a screwdriver resting on the kitchen counter -- allegedly the same screwdriver used to change the locks -- and stab her mother in the stomach.
The prosecution alleges Duran eventually reached for a knife holder in the kitchen and grabbed a carving fork that he used to then continue stabbing Morgan multiple times.
The prosecution said Morgan’s wounds were matched to the carving fork by Coconino County medical examiner Larry Czarnecki. Czarnecki attributed Morgan’s death to “multiple sharp-force injuries,” the prosecution added.
The prosecution called to testify on Tuesday a neighbor who had allegedly witnessed Morgan run out of the home and collapse. The witness also claimed to have seen Duran flee the scene in his truck while Morgan remained unconscious in the neighbor’s yard.
According to a sheriff’s report, Duran left the scene in a gold truck and drove to a residence on Skeet Drive. Duran was later picked up by his brother, Ray Duran Jr., who he asked to drive to Rimrock in Yavapai County.
The two were driving southbound on the Interstate 17 near Rimrock when Duran was detained by authorities.
“Shortly after he picked up his brother, Ray knew he wanted to be stopped by the police,” Shea said in his opening statement.
Reports from sheriff's authorities claim the brother stopped in a convenience store on the way out of town to buy Duran beer and cigarettes.
While inside, Shea said, the brother slipped the cashier a note with his license plate number that said: “Wait until I leave, and call the police. Tell them I have Tim Duran, they’ll know who I am talking about.”
The trial is scheduled to take place in Division II of the Coconino County Superior Court through Nov. 5. Duran remains in the custody of the Coconino County Detention Facility on a $2 million bond.
Gallery: The last golden days of fall in Flagstaff
Some stands of aspen on the 151 loop still have their crowns of gold, but most of the fall turn has dropped following cold temperatures and high winds. After a windy Monday, the National Weather Service forecast is calling for a return to normal temperatures, with highs in the 60s for most of the rest of the week.