Daughter Of Murder Suspect Delivers Damaging Testimony Against Father
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 10-year-old girl delivered damaging and dramatic testimony Tuesday against her 46-year-old father in his first degree murder trial.
She told jurors inside a packed Miami-Dade courtroom at the Metro Justice Building that her father not only shot an unarmed man but he also smiled while he was doing it.
Palacio's daughter is not being named and was only photographed on closed-circuit from the neck down. Her testimony was captured by a camera from inside the chambers of Circuit Judge Leon Firtel.
She was six years at the time of the incident. Miami-Dade Police say her mother's new husband, Paul Winter, was shot six times---twice in the back. It happened as they were dropping off Palacio's daughter and her twin brother from a court-appointed visit at the home of Palacio in Kendall in October 2008.
"Chris started shooting," the daughter testified. "He was shooting at Paul."
She testified that she witnessed the shooting from her mother's van.
"I heard the gun being fired," she said. "And he fell. He fell to the ground. The gun was fired more than once. I heard a loud sound."
"Did you feel fear?" asked prosecutor Joseph Mansfield.
"Yes, a little bit," she said.
"Do you remember if Paul had a weapon, a knife or a gun?" asked Mansfield.
"He did not have anything," she said.
"Do you remember him having a gun?" Mansfield asked.
"No," she said.
"Did you see his face?" Mansfield asked.
"Yes," she said. "He was smiling. He was smiling when he was shooting Paul."
As Palacio listened to his daughter's testimony, he was seen dabbing tears from his eyes.
Members of the jury sat spellbound, seemingly fascinated by the daughter's damaging testimony.
She stood by her account during defense cross-examination by attorney Michael Walsh. She said she had nightmares and had needed counseling since the incident. She also said she had "PTSD," post traumatic stress disorder as well.
She testified that her father approached the van that she and her brother were in after the shooting, but she locked the doors.
"What was your Mom's reaction?" asked Mansfield.
"She was scared, I think," she said.
"And how about your brother?" asked Mansfield.
"He was scared," she started. "He started to cry."
That twin brother was expected to testify. But that did not happen. Plans called for playing a previously-recorded videotape deposition from her twin brother for the jury.
Palacio's ex-wife, who now lives in Deleware with her children, is expected to testify during the trial.
Last week, a Judge rejected Palacio's claim that he was defending himself against Winter and should be tried under the state's stand-your-ground law. Palacio and his wife went through a bitter divorce in 2007.
She then married Paul Winter, a British-born graphic designer.
During last week's hearing, Palacio claimed Winter tormented him for months and even pulled a gun on him on two different occasions and often used profanity. Palacio testified the arguments usually happened during custody visits.
Palacio claims he fired in self defense after he thought Winter was reaching for a weapon.
But his ex-wife Jennifer Winter had testified that her husband never owned a gun and liked to avoid conflict.
for more features.