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Murder witness tells ABC-7 what she saw, why she spent hours with killer after friend was shot

Marinda Palacios was with Richard Madrigal when he was shot to death in his apartment on June 11, 2016. The man who pulled the trigger was her boyfriend, Leonel Hernandez.

“I remember him pulling out his gun, shooting once, and then Rick fell,” Marinda said in a one-on-one interview at the ABC-7 studio in Aug. 2019.

Her interview comes five months after Leonel was convicted of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Marinda agreed to share with ABC-7 about what she saw, the hours she spent with the killer after Rick’s death, and being accused of her friend’s murder by Leonel’s defense team.

The night before Rick was shot, Marinda said that they were hanging out together at his apartment and that it carried over into the following day.

“Leo kept texting and texting and I told Rick, ‘Dude, Leo wants to come over. He keeps texting me.’ And he said, ‘F*** it, let him come if he wants.'”

Marinda said she doesn’t know what led to the shooting. In fact, she claims there are blocks of time she doesn’t remember. Here’s what she said she does recall.

“I remember us standing in the living room. It was Leo, me and Rick in the front. I don’t remember any arguments or what they’re saying. But I remember him pulling out his gun, shooting once, and then Rick fell. And then I covered my ears and I turned around and he shot again. That’s it.”

The investigation by El Paso police detectives uncovered that, in the hours after Rick was killed, Leonel and Marinda left Rick’s apartment, went to bars and stayed together for the night at a hotel.

“I don’t remember going with him,” she told ABC-7.

“When I came to, like, when I finally realized where I was — or, not when I realized, but when I finally came out of my blackout — I asked, ‘What am I doing in your truck?’ He’s like, ‘I had to physically put you in there,'” Marinda said. “He’s like, ‘You freaked out and you took off and I had to physically throw you in my truck.’

“I don’t know if he tackled me and then threw me in the truck, or knocked me out — I have, I don’t remember,” she said.

When asked if Marinda asked Leonel if he shot Rick, Marinda said, “I didn’t wanna ask. I was afraid of asking anything that would piss him off or upset him. I was just scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

Hear the discussion with Marinda about her role in the investigation, her charges in connection to Rick’s death, and she also defends herself against the allegations by Leonel’s defense team that she killed Rick in the Borderland Crimes podcast.

Listen here or download it through Apple Podcasts or Google Play.

KVIA 2019

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KVIA ABC-7

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