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Man on trial for murder of Toronto nurse admits to hitting her with crowbar during break-and-enter

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WATCH ABOVE: One of two men on trial for the alleged first-degree murder and sexual assault of a mother of three in her East York home is testifying in his own defence. Yostin Murillo told a jury he struck Rhoderie Estrada with a crowbar during a break-and-enter in 2018, but denies he sexually assaulted her. Catherine McDonald reports – Aug 3, 2021

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that could be disturbing to some readers.

Yostin Murillo, one of two men accused of first-degree murder and sexual assault in connection with the death of 41-year-old nurse Rhoderie Estrada, wiped away tears as he testified about the night of May 25, 2018, when he broke into a home in East York, and only later realized that three children and a woman were inside the home and asleep.

Murillo told the jury he walked through the house, going into a number of bedrooms where children were sleeping. He stole two iPhones, a laptop and two purses as he skulked through the home and when he was in the master bedroom, struck Estrada with a crowbar in a panic when he heard someone wake up and utter the words, “Oh no.”

Read more: Trial for 2 men accused of murdering, sexually assaulting Toronto mother during break-and-enter begins

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The accused in the case said he thought she was asleep and testified he hit Estrada three times and she started making noises.

“After I hit her, she stopped making noises,” he said.

Murillo, as he choked back tears, explained he didn’t know why he hit her, saying he just “freaked out.”

During his testimony, Murillo said he was homeless for about three years by 2018 and was only 21 years old at the time. He told the jury that he and David Beck, his co-accused, had been friends for about five months and had a common purpose of partying, listening to music, smoking cannabis and working out.

Click to play video: 'Trial begins for 2 men accused of murdering, sexually assaulting Toronto nurse' Trial begins for 2 men accused of murdering, sexually assaulting Toronto nurse
Trial begins for 2 men accused of murdering, sexually assaulting Toronto nurse – Jul 7, 2021

The jury heard that Murillo already had a long history of convictions for break-and-enters dating back to 2012 and Murillo explained he would steal to feed himself and support his drug habit.

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Both Murillo and Beak, who was 22, have pleaded not guilty.

Prior to the break-in at the Estrada home, Murillo’s lawyer Brian Ross showed his client surveillance video taken from earlier in the night, asking him what they were up to.

Read more: Suspect charged with 1st-degree murder after woman found dead in east-end Toronto home

Murillo testified he was high on crystal meth, marijuana, cocaine and alcohol, and said he and Beak were breaking into garages, sheds, and the storage room of an apartment on Gamble Avenue, looking to steal property.

“Electronics, work tools, hacksaws, bicycles, things of that nature,” Murillo explained.

When they arrived at Estrada’s home on a nearby street, Murillo said there was a light in the basement, but there was no car in the driveway and it was very dark between the houses.

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When he looked into a basement window, he testified he saw gravel and construction stuff and thought it was being renovated.

After unsuccessfully trying to get in through a kitchen window, Murillo told the court he got in through the basement window, after breaking the screen and sliding the window open. He testified Beak followed him in.

Murillo said when he later struck Estrada in her bedroom multiple times, he recalled what he told Beak.

“What the f— just happened? What did I just do? We need to get out of here,” he said, adding he wasn’t sure if Estrada was dead or alive.

“All I know is she was not making any sound after I hit her.”

Read more: Suspect charged with 1st-degree murder after woman found dead in east-end Toronto home

Murillo said he left the house, got outside, went down a few houses and threw the crowbar in a black garbage can. He said he broke down and started lamenting and went through the stolen property before remembering he had left a prybar that he had earlier taken out of his pocket inside Estrada’s bedroom.

“I walked back to the house and noticed David outside on the street and asked him, ‘Where did you go? what’s going on?’ He didn’t answer me, ignored me. I told him I had to go back into the house. I left a prybar,” Murillo said.

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He went on to testify that when he got into the bedroom, he noticed that Estrada was naked.

“She was not like that before I left,” Murillo told the jury, saying he only stayed inside the room for 30 to 40 seconds and never found the prybar.

Read more: Suspect wanted after woman found dead in east-end Toronto home: police

He explained he went back outside and met Beak.

“He was on a bike. He was ahead of me,” Murillo said, adding they went to a coffee shop and drank more before he questioned Beak.

“‘Why she was naked?’ He said, ‘I f—ed up. I tried to have sex with her.'”

An autopsy determined Estrada’s cause of death was a head injury. She had suffered a minimum of eight blows to the head and had 10 separate lacerations that were characterized as defensive in nature.

Murillo said after that night, he didn’t see Beak again. Murillo was arrested on May 27, 2018, and was in possession of two cellphones, including one that had bloodstains on it.

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