Wednesday, May 14, 2014
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas Strip dancer testified Wednesday that he made multiple 911 calls, but police didn't take seriously his complaints that he was being harassed and sometimes attacked by the ex-girlfriend he's charged with killing and dismembering in December 2010.
Jason Omar Griffith, 35, took the witness stand in his defense after two other witnesses, a former boyfriend from Maryland and his best friend testified that Deborah Flores Narvaez demonstrated a violent streak before she met Griffith.
Griffith, then a dancer in the Cirque du Soleil show "Love," testified that Flores, a performer the Luxor hotel-casino's "Fantasy" revue, quickly became "clingy" and sometimes physically combative after they became intimate in early 2010.
Flores, then 30, wanted a closer relationship than he did, Griffith said, and she insisted that he pay attention to her. Flores sometimes called and texted him dozens of times a day, Griffith said.
A 911 call that Griffith made in March 2010 to report that Flores broke his bedroom window from outside his house also recorded a woman cursing and shouting in the background. Griffith testified that it was Flores yelling through the broken window.
"It doesn't matter if your roommate's there or not, because it's going to go against you," the woman says. Then, apparently using Griffith's nickname, Blu, she calls him a coward.
Flores was treated for cuts on her hands and arms, but she wasn't arrested. Griffith said police never appeared to take his complaints seriously.
Griffith said he tried to ignore Flores, but she frequently met him unannounced at his home or at his car parked at work at The Mirage. He said began waiting for co-workers to walk with him to his vehicle, where he found a note that threatened his life if he dated anyone else.
It was signed, "Love Always" and "Destiny."
The number of texts and calls swelled to the hundreds, Griffith testified, after he began seeing another woman, a dancer at another Cirque show.
"Things would flare up, and she would be like this," he said of Flores. Then, she would apologize, he said.
"When she's cool, things are cool," Griffith said. "Whenever I try to disengage or pull away or attempt to ignore it, if I don't cater to the phone calls, it gets violent. She starts getting really angry."
Griffith's testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday.
His accounts of Flores poking, slapping, taunting, hitting and stalking him are crucial to convincing the jury that he was defending himself when Flores died in a physical struggle at his house in December 2010.
Griffith has been jailed since his arrest in January 2011 — almost a month after Flores was reported missing. The case sparked intense media interest that grew with the revelation that Flores' dismembered body was found entombed in blocks of concrete in two large storage tubs in a vacant house.
Griffith's housemate, Louis Colombo, testified Tuesday that he tried to calm and separate Flores and Griffith as they argued before Colombo left the house late Dec. 12, 2010. When Colombo returned, he saw Flores' body on the floor.
Colombo acknowledged helping Griffith try to dispose of the body — and endured intense cross-examination from defense attorney Abel Yanez about the blanket immunity from prosecution that he received before telling police where to find Flores' body.
Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney is expected to decide Thursday whether the jury will view a video recording that Griffith said he made in mid-2010 while confronting Flores about his car tires being slashed.
In it, Flores admits hitting Griffith, entering his house, looking on his computer, pouring egg whites on his car and slashing three tires.
Delaney noted the edited video, with sound, of less than 2 minutes may not fully reflect the context of the apparent confession because it was drawn from a recording more than an hour long. The long version, found on Griffith's computer, lacks a soundtrack.