Friend testifies in murder trial

ILLINOIS: Chicago woman accused in slaying of sister's boyfriend
2004-11-10T00:00:00Z Friend testifies in murder trialMAX SEIGLE
MEDILL NEWS SERVICE
nwitimes.com
November 10, 2004 12:00 am  • 

A childhood friend took the stand Tuesday in the murder trial of Margaret DeFrancisco, the 20-year-old Chicago woman on trial for the slaying of her sister's boyfriend.

Veronica Garcia testified DeFrancisco asked her for the gun that killed Oscar Velazquez four years ago.

"I said probably, and she said, 'Come to my house,'" Garcia said.

Garcia, who was charged with helping to cover up the slaying, also said killing Velazquez was never part of the plan that DeFrancisco and her sister, Regina, devised. According to Garcia, the two sisters just wanted "to scare Oscar for his money."

The DeFrancisco sisters were charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Regina, 21, was found guilty by a jury in July and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Margaret's trial ended with a hung jury. Her new trial began Monday.

Garcia, a key witness in Margaret DeFrancisco's earlier trial, offered similar testimony Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege the DeFrancisco sisters lured Velazquez to their Pilsen neighborhood home on the afternoon of June 6, 2000, with the intention of robbing him of his money and car.

On Tuesday, the new jury listened to more than two hours of testimony from Garcia, who struck a deal with prosecutors to testify against her childhood friend in exchange for a five-year prison sentence.

Garcia then detailed the events of June 6 for jurors. She said she and her boyfriend delivered the gun to Margaret DeFrancisco's house, and she stayed there.

"(The sisters) were talking to each other about where they were going to rob him," Garcia told the jury.

When Velazquez arrived, Garcia said, Regina DeFrancisco called him to the basement. She said Margaret DeFrancisco followed him, closely holding the gun behind her back.

"Maybe 20 to 30 seconds (later), I heard a gunshot," Garcia said. "I got up and ran downstairs."

She said she saw Velazquez lying face down on the floor with blood coming out of his ear, and his right hand was shaking. Garcia said she also saw the two sisters going through his pockets, and they found a gun in Velazquez's waistband.

"The whole time I was asking them, screaming at them, 'Why did you do it?'" Garcia said.

She said the sisters wrapped Velazquez's body in flowery sheets, and she helped them drag it outside into the trunk of Velazquez's car. Prosecutors say the DeFrancisco sisters set the body on fire using nail polish remover.

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