SAN ANTONIO – When Lauren Bump, 24, did not show up for dinner on New Year’s Eve 2013, her father became concerned and went to O.P. Schnabel Park, where she often went jogging.
When he arrived just after dusk, John Bump said he was greeted by a police officer who refused to let him enter the park. He said the officer told him that police were investigating the murder of a woman whose body was found along one of the park’s jogging trails.
“I definitely felt in my heart that it was her,” Bump testified as the trial of his daughter's accused killer, Christian Bautista, 31, began on Tuesday.
“I was almost trying to convince the detective it was her. I was so sure,” Bump said.
Bautista was arrested three days later, and on Jan. 5, 2014, he was charged with Lauren Bump’s murder.
During her opening statement Tuesday, prosecutor Mary Green made the jury a promise.
“At the end of the evidence, ladies and gentlemen, you will realize that you are sitting in the same room as a cold-blooded murderer,” she said. “She was stabbed more than 20 times, and most of the blood from her body was seeping into the dirt below her."
“It’s no secret, he’s weird, OK?” Bautista’s lawyer, Tim Molina, said of his client during his opening statement. “You’ll hear people describe him as creepy, that he stares at you and talks to himself.”
That was evident as the trial began Tuesday. Bautista often stared at courtroom spectators and drew an admonishment from Judge Jefferson Moore for talking.
“I’m going to ask you to please minimize that as much as possible,” Moore told Bautista.
During a competency trial last year, in which he was found competent to stand trial, Bautista exposed himself and made lewd sexual remarks to a female prosecutor.
If he is found guilty of Lauren Bump’s murder, Bautista faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Testimony is set to continue Wednesday in Moore’s 186th District Court.