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Posted: 4:23 PM- Two co-defendants testified Tuesday they watched as Floyd Eugene Maestas strangled, beat and stomped to death a 72-year-old woman in her Salt Lake City home in the fall of 2004.
But the defense claimed during the second day of Maestas' capital murder trial that co-defendant William Hugh Irish had told two different jail inmates that he and co-defendant Rodney Roy Renzo had stolen Maestas' car and killed Donna Lou Bott on their own.
"Floyd was not there, but he was the easiest person to pin it on," said defense attorney Michael Sikora, recounting what Irish had purportedly said to cellmates.
Irish denied saying any such thing.
"No," Irish said. "I don't talk about my case in jail."
Charged with aggravated capital murder, Maestas, 52, could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Bott on Sept. 28, 2004.
Maestas also is on trial for breaking into the home of an 86-year-old woman the same night that Bott died.
That woman - who survived the attack - testified Tuesday that she heard a crash at about 10:30 p.m., and saw a brick fly through her window, followed by the a foot and leg of an intruder.
But the woman said she saw nothing else because her shirt was immediately pulled up over her head.
An assailant then beat her in the face while demanding, "Where's your money? Where's your purse?"
Renzo testified he followed Maestas through the broken window and into the home, where he grabbed the woman's purse.
Soon after, the robbers left the purse - still containing $45 in cash - in Maestas' car when it ran out of gas on the 600 North on-ramp to Interstate 15.
The three men were linked to the crimes because Irish and Renzo used Bott's stolen cell phone to call friends and date lines.
Salt Lake City Police Detective Vic Sieberneck testified that fingerprints were lifted from a back-door window at Bott's home, where the intruders entered.
Prosecutors said Monday during opening statements that one print was matched to Maestas.
The trial continues Wednesday in 3rd District Court with scheduled testimony about DNA evidence allegedly matching Maestas. The genetic material tested came from under Bott's fingernails.