CROWN POINT — Aimee Giro was found dead two weeks before she would have served as maid of honor at her best friend's wedding, allegedly shot by her boyfriend, Jovanni Torres, at his Lake Station home, according to testimony Tuesday at Torres' murder trial.

Jaclyn Havens testified Giro, 26, was like her sister. The bubbly waitress and Indiana University Northwest student took care of everyone, Havens said.

Giro joined several friends Sept. 30, 2016, at Havens' bachelorette party. The women traveled that night by limousine to a two-story night club in Chicago, returning during the early morning hours to Havens' home.

Giro seemed “flustered” and “irritated” that night, Havens testified, but she never had the chance to ask her about it. Giro was taken by another friend that morning to Torres' home, where she stayed when she wasn't at her father's home.

Havens said she sent Giro a text message around 2 p.m. Oct. 1, 2016, but she did not receive a response. Her phone calls to Giro over the next two days went to voice message, so she began calling local hospitals and Giro's family members.

Juan Giro, the victim's father, testified Tuesday he went with two friends Oct. 5, 2016, to Torres' home in the 2700 block of New Hampshire Street. He choked on his words when he remembered seeing flies on the home's door and windows. He said there was also a rotten smell, like decomposing flesh.

Juan Giro said no one answered there, so he went to the home of Torres' mother, where his daughter's boyfriend shook his hand and claimed he had not seen Giro in a couple days.

Juan Giro's friend called police and reported the smell and flies at Torres' home. Police obtained a search warrant and found Giro dead of a gunshot wound in the home. 

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Havens said Giro was expected to be the maid of honor at her wedding later that month, but she instead attended her best friend's funeral.

Friends and coworkers testified that the couple's year-long relationship was marred by conflict.

Linda VanKley, the manager of Bakers Square in Merrillville, where Giro worked part-time as a waitress, testified Giro came into the restaurant with a black eye about two or three weeks before her disappearance. VanKley said she asked Giro what happened. Giro allegedly told her boss she and Torres got into a fight after she caught Torres looking at child pornography on his computer.

Jeanette Hard, Giro's cousin, said she once picked Giro up late at night on the side of the road after her cousin fled Torres' home wearing only a T-shirt and underwear. She said Giro was angry and crying, but she did not want to talk about what happened.

Elizabeth Hooper, Torres' ex-girlfriend and the mother of his 10-year-old child, said Torres told her he was going to kill Giro because she “knew too much” and “something needed to be done.” He allegedly confessed to Hooper his girlfriend caught him looking at child pornography.

Hooper said Torres was sometimes “delusional.” He was wounded in a shooting in 2007 in Gary's Miller neighborhood, which made him paranoid. He took pain medication because of the shooting, and once told Hooper he believed Giro was talking to the police, the ex-girlfriend testified.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.