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Victim Breaks Down On Stand In Torture Trial

By Robbie Owens & L.P. Phillips, CBSDFW.com

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It was a difficult day on the witness stand for a Lancaster woman who survived a brutal attack in March 2011.  Her boyfriend at the time, 34-year-old Jose Areolla, is now on trial for the assault.

After spending most of Thursday morning on the tedious details of the couple’s relationship, prosecutors started asking the victim, Maria Escamilla, about the night of the attack.

She’d spoken for only about 5 minutes about him hitting her, kicking her in the face, picking her up by her hair and carrying her to the back patio before breaking down.

Prosecutor Brandi Wade asked if she was alright, only to receive an emphatic response of  “No, I am not ok…”

Earlier, Escamilla spoke of “happy times” with Jose Arreola, the man prosecutors say beat, stabbed and raped her before sexually mutilating her at the Lancaster home they had shared.  Prosecutors showed her pictures of bloody knives that she recognized as having once resided on her kitchen countertop.  Jurors also saw photos of  what appeared to be Arreola’s blood soaked shoes and jeans that he had worn on the night of the attack.

Escamilla testified about previous violent incidents, telling jurors, quote “He would promise me that he was going to change.”

In fact, just months prior to the near fatal attack, Arreola took an anger management class and the couple underwent counseling.  They were again estranged on that March night when Escamilla says Arreola accompanied her to a friend’s party-but, when they returned to her home, with no provocation began to beat her, telling jurors, quote “He knocked me down, he kicked me in my face, and dragged me to the back patio by my hair.”

Testifying that she was in and out of consciousness during the attack for which Arreola is now charged, Escamilla told jurors that at one point she realized she was being raped… saying:

“I thought maybe he was gonna stop hitting me and – I don’t know, I felt like… ‘he’s having sex with me, I’m confused,’ I didn’t think he was gonna hit me anymore.  He kept telling me I was gonna die.”

CBSDFW does not typically identify sexual assault victims.  But, in the months following the attack, Escamilla gave permission to use her name as she shared her story and her still visible scars as a warning to others.  “I will never feel save again… never,” she told CBS 11 in April of 2012.

Doctors say Escamilla almost bled to death and needed 500 stitches to close the wounds.

Arreola’s lawyers say she attacked him and he only fought back in self defense.  They cross-examined Escamilla Thursday afternoon.

Arreola remains free on bond.

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