Luis Toledo trial: Day 3 of testimony ends

by: Jason Kelly Updated:

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Testimony resumed Friday in the murder trial of a 35-year-old Deltona man who is accused of killing his wife and her two children.

Luis Toledo is accused of killing Yessenia Suarez, 28, and her children, Thalia Otto, 9, and Michael Otto, 8, who disappeared from their Deltona home in October 2013 and were never found.

Investigators said Toledo confessed to killing Suarez but denied killing her children. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the deaths of the children.

Toledo told investigators he performed a karate chop on Suarez's in the throat while in a fit of rage over an affair she was having with a co-worker. 

Read: Luis Toledo trial day 2: Former lover testifies

Two neighbors, who are sisters, testified Friday. One woman, who was 13 years old in 2013, said she heard a woman yelling for help around midnight Oct. 23 in Toledo's home.

"I was in my bed and heard a woman yell, 'Help me.' I asked my sister if she heard it and she said, 'Yes,'" the neighbor said.

The woman said she looked outside and didn't see anything and thought it was just kids fooling around and went back to sleep.

The woman testified that the next day, while walking home from school, she found a large knife. Prosecutors believe the knife belongs to Toledo and he tossed it from his car when police were following him.

Josh Mott, the primary crime scene investigator, first took the stand Thursday and continued his testimony Friday. He spoke about the home in which prosecutors believe Suarez, Thalia and Michael were killed. 

Photos: Yessenia Suarez, Thalia Otto and Michael Otto

A Volusia County deputy who went to the home after Suarez was reported missing testified Thursday that the house smelled of a cleaning agent, such as Pine-Sol.

Mott said that he didn't notice such an odor when he arrived at the home hours later, but he said that he found empty cleaning product bottles inside.

Mott testified that specks of blood found in the home's master bathroom appeared to have been wiped with a cleaner. He said that about half of the bathroom floor appeared to have recently been cleaned in a circular motion.

Defense attorneys were able to get Mott to admit that there isn't a way to determine how long the blood had been there.

Photos: Search for bodies in missing family case

Read: Luis Toledo: Trial begins for Deltona man accused of killing wife, children

"You don't know when that sort of blood was placed on that wall?" the attorney asked.

"That's correct," Mott said.

"You don't know what circumstances it was placed there?" the attorney asked.

"Correct," Mott said.

Attorneys were able to get Mott to testify that there wasn't a way to determine who cleaned the bathroom or when it was cleaned.

Investigators discussed fingerprints found in the home and in the car, and a Florida Department of Law Enforcement expert spoke about blood stain patterns.

Photos: Evidence in Luis Toledo case

Testimony ended Friday and will continue Monday morning.

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