A man accused of murdering a UCLA student in 2015 waived his right to testify during trial proceedings Wednesday.
The prosecution rested its case against Alberto Medina, a former Fresno State University student, and gave the defense an opportunity to present witness testimony. Medina told the judge that he understood he had a right to defend himself in court, but chose not to exercise that right.
Medina is accused of killing Andrea “Andy” DelVesco, a UCLA student, and setting her apartment on fire. County prosecutors also accuse Medina of two counts of burglary and cruelty to an animal. DelVesco’s dog was found burned in the apartment, which later led her family to euthanize him.
Debra Werbel, the attorney, representing Medina in the case, called Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Zhané Ochoa, a former UCLA Navy ROTC cadet and active service member, to the stand. Ochoa, Werbel’s only witness, testified she had spent the weekend the alleged murder took place with her roommate, Medina and Eric Marquez, who plead guilty to first-degree residential burglary and accessory after the fact in the same incident.
Ochoa said she met Medina through Marquez at a friend’s birthday party on a Friday night three days before DelVesco’s death. The four of them spent Saturday night together watching a movie at The Grove and eating at Canter’s Deli.
Ochoa said she and her roommate again met with Medina and Marquez on Sunday night to drink at Marquez’s apartment on Strathmore Drive.
Ochoa said that they had purchased tequila and cranberry juice at Ralphs earlier in the evening, and had spent about two hours playing drinking games at Marquez’s apartment.
“We were all pretty drunk,” Ochoa told investigators. “(Medina) was plastered.”
She testified that the group left the apartment after Medina broke a bong and ran outside, leaving them to clean up the broken glass.
Video evidence presented in the trial appeared to show Medina with a cup in his hand dancing by the elevator in Marquez’s building, after Ochoa testified that he had broken the bong and left the apartment. The group then went to Tommy Taco on Gayley Avenue, Ochoa said.
Medina called her friend a racial slur when they were at Tommy Taco, which prompted the group to leave the restaurant, Ochoa said. Ochoa and her roommate dropped the men off at Marquez’s apartment at about 2 a.m. Monday morning and continued to their apartment, according to screenshots of Uber ride receipts.
Ochoa told detectives that she felt Medina had little consideration for others.
“He was just one of those loud guys. … People like that, they feel like they can do whatever,” she said.
Paramedics pronounced DelVesco dead around five hours later Monday morning. Her apartment was set on fire and her body was found charred with at least 19 sharp force injuries.
The prosecution and defense will give their closing arguments Thursday.