Witness describes face-to-face encounter with accused killer

Woman confronted by Christian Bautista in O.P. Schnabel Park

SAN ANTONIO – Just hours before the body of Lauren Bump, 24, was found along a jogging trail in O.P. Schnabel Park in the early evening of New Year’s Eve 2013, a woman said that she was confronted by Christian Bautista, 31, who is on trial for Bump’s murder.

Bump had been stabbed at least 20 times, prosecutors told the jury during opening arguments in Bautista’s murder trial on Tuesday.

“He looked me up and down with this absolutely horrid, malicious look,” Michelle Debs testified Wednesday.

She said that Bautista began to follow her along the often secluded jogging trails woven through the Northwest Side park.

“He had a knife and was slicing branches and you could hear the leaves whistle, and the leaves were making a swishing sound and he was whistling this tune,” Debs testified.

“Did you recognize the tune?” asked prosecutor Mary Green.

“I did,” Debs replied. “It was the tune from the movie 'Kill Bill.'”

Debs said that she could not identify Bautista in a photo lineup police showed her.

She described the pictures as poor-quality black and white photocopies.

But when Green asked her Wednesday if she could identify the man who confronted her in court, she pointed to Bautista and said, “He’s at the front table with the defense attorney in the blue shirt.”

She said that she is still haunted by the encounter with Bautista that day and has had to undergo therapy.

If he is convicted, Bautista faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Testimony is expected to continue Thursday in Judge Jefferson Moore’s 186th District Court.

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