TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A preliminary hearing for Manuel Alcala, charged with first-degree murder in his wife Ashley Alcala's death, was continued to January 2, after just half a day of witness testimony.
Stacey Donovan, Chief Public Defender for Manuel Alcala, asked Judge David Debenham for more time to review discovery material.
Seven witnesses testified Tuesday morning, including the victim's uncle, Clair Bacon.
Bacon said he went to his niece's home on 3022 SE Kentucky in the morning of October 18 - the door was unlocked.
Inside, he found his niece, lying by the refrigerator.
"I saw half of her face covered with dried blood," he told the court.
He said he applied a towel to her skull. "I felt the skull move into the brain," he said. She was still trying to breathe when he found her, he said.
Officers at the scene said they found a shell casing near Ashley's feet.
The uncle said Manuel Alcala had moved out of the home the week before and the couple was going through a divorce.
Two other witnesses said the defendant had confided in them, telling them he suspected his wife of having an affair, with a police officer. He knew the man's name and that he was a police officer, Amie Greene, Manuel Alcala's co-worker, said.
A friend of the couple, a nurse at Stormont-Vail, where Ashley had also worked, chocked back tears as she recalled her conversation with Manuel on October 14. He told her he found out three weeks ago that Ashley was having an affair. He told her, "He was hurt, he had been kicked out of the house, he was alone and isolated.
"He thought of killing himself, he thought of going over to her boyfriend's house to kill him," and Ashley, she said. He also thought of killing himself, but told her he knew "that wasn't what God wanted him to do."
Detectives working the crime scene at the home said the window was four to five inches open and the house had no sign of forced entry.
Detective George Henley said private surveillance cameras show a loaner car, like the one Alcala used on October 18, drive by the house five times the night before his wife was killed, including twice when he came to pick up their two young children.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqie Spradling and Assistant District Attorney Andrea Nelson are prosecuting the case, in which Alcala is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Stacey Donovan, the public defender, said she has received only 425 pages of more than 1000 pages of discovery material. The missing information included the coroner's report. Prosecutors say they received the material Monday night. Judge Debenham granted the request, and scheduled the preliminary hearing to resume January 2.
The defendant's mother, Manuela Alcala, his brother Gabino Alcala, and third person, Benjamin Anaya are also charged with first-degree felony murder and conspiracy to commit murder in Ashley Alcala's death. Gabino Alcala and Anaya remain jailed in Texas. Prosecutors continue efforts to bring them back to Kansas.