SAN JOSE -- Despite her obvious reluctance, the mother of a young man accused of killing 15-year-old Michael Russell took the stand Monday in her son's murder trial and gave testimony that strengthened the prosecution's case.
Christina Trujillo acknowledged that she tried to reach her son Jae Williams 14 times after Santa Teresa High School let out on Nov. 10, 2009, the afternoon Michael was stabbed. Her inability to reach him bolstered prosecutor Valerie McGuire's contention that Williams was busy at the time -- helping to stab Michael to death.
Williams and his close friend Randy Thompson are both charged in the case. But Thompson will be charged separately, after Williams' four- to six-week trial ends.
Williams confessed to police that they befriended Michael, long planned to kill him and did so for thrills.
Michael suffered at least 12 significant stab wounds, one of which perforated his larynx, jugular vein and carotid artery and another that collapsed his right lung. Another penetrated 7 inches deep through his chest and into his heart.
Trujillo did not make it easy for McGuire to extract information about her son.
Appearing sad and weary, Trujillo would quietly deny everything she was asked about, then wind up conceding it was true. For instance, she said she never made repeated phone calls to try to reach Williams, forcing McGuire to draw her attention to cellphone records and police reports proving she had.
She denied agreeing to let police interview her son. But when McGuire confronted her with the consent form she'd signed, she conceded she had granted permission.
Trujillo said that she, Williams and her then-19-year-old daughter discussed the horrific killing during dinner at Applebee's a couple of days after he was slain. Williams continued to feign ignorance about it, though he confessed the next day.
He even told his mom what people were saying about why Michael may have been killed.
"Jae said it could have been somebody (Michael) owed some money to for a drug deal," she said.
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.