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Preliminary hearing begins for Saugus man accused of killing his girlfriend

Posted: May 22, 2013 5:56 p.m.
Updated: May 22, 2013 5:56 p.m.

Karla Brada, whose boyfriend stands accused of killing her, was the victim of murder and died of asphyxiation, according to a medical examiner with the county coroner’s office.

Dr. Pedro Ortiz, deputy medical examiner with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, testified Wednesday at the murder trial of Eric Allen Earle, 41, that Brada suffered several scrapes and bruises just before she died.

Earle, his head shaved, dressed in blue Los Angeles County Jail coveralls and wearing black thick-rimmed glasses, when he was led into San Fernando Superior Court for the first day of his preliminary hearing.

“The things I think are important facts of the autopsy examination, I listed as trauma which I found on Miss Brada’s face and neck and blunt force trauma to her body,” Ortiz said.

“I listed ones more important as a laceration to the inside of her mouth and bruising to the face and neck,” he said.

“The manner of death is a homicide and she died of asphyxiation. In looking at the trauma, my conclusion was that they (signs of trauma) were due to a compression of the mouth and neck.”

Ortiz made special note of bleeding he found in the white part of Brada’s left eye, which he believed was result of rising blood pressure caused by such a compression of the mouth and neck.

Brada, 31, died in her Saugus home between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Sept. 1, 2011, he said.

The night before Brada died, a neighbor heard a yelling man who she identified in court as Earle.

The witness, Louise Willard, told the courtroom she heard Earle repeatedly shout out a single swear word over and over on the night of Aug. 31, 2011.

Willard said she shared a common apartment wall with Brada.

“I heard him say ‘F- - -’ every 10 minutes, until 2:50 in the morning,” she said.

The following morning, on Sept. 1, 2011, Willard said she heard Earle’s voice again, this time calling out Brada’s name.

“It was a male voice saying ‘Karla, Karla, Karla,’” she said, describing it as the tone of someone trying to wake someone up.

“Then I heard a huge noise like an elephant landing on my roof, or an earthquake, a giant noise,” she said.

Defense attorney David Arredondo asked Ortiz if some of the abrasions and contusions found on Brada’s body and itemized by Ortiz could have been caused by a fall down a single flight of stairs.

Ortiz said it was possible but that he would expect to see more traumatic injuries to the body including internal injuries if that was the case.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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