Vanessa Pham murder suspect pleads not guilty

4:32 PM, Aug 19, 2013   |    comments
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FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WUSA9) -- The man accused of killing Vanessa Pham pleaded not guilty on the first day of his trial.

Twenty-seven-year-old Julio Blanco Garcia is charged with the June 2010 murder. He's a Guatamalan national and is in the United States illegally.

Authorities say Garcia approached Pham at a Falls Church shopping center with his infant daughter and asked for a ride to the hospital. Police say Garcia got upset when Pham went the wrong way down a road and stabbed her 13 times in the chest, neck and leg. Authorities say Garcia was high on PCP. 

For two and a half years, it was still a mystery on who killed Pham.

A WUSA 9 camera crew is inside the courtroom.  This is the first time cameras have been allowed in a Fairfax County courtroom in nearly 20 years.

The jury was seated at approximately 12:30 p.m. and the prosecution began its opening arguments  at approximately 1:45 p.m.

The defense attorney for Garcia said PCP caused him to kill Pham. Alberto Salvado said, "His high gets worse, he started flipping out, hallucinating."

The prosecutor said Garcia 'willfully, deliberately, purposefully' murder Vanessa Pham. 

A woman who spotted Pham's car in a ditch also testified, about making a 911 call. She said she saw the car on the side with a wheel in the air rotating. The jury was shown pictures of  the blood-soaked car. 

Pham's cousin also took the stand. She said she had never seen Garcia until now. 

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