RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The day before Michael Burton killed his wife with a samurai sword, Otilia Burton told a co-worker that her husband said he was going to kill her.
The co-worker, Dawnyell Varela, testified in Michael Burton’s murder trial Tuesday that on July 15, 2006, Otilia Burton confided in her at the Coco’s restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga where the women both worked as servers.
Otilia and Michael Burton had not shared a bed for more than a year, according to earlier testimony, since Michael Burton learned in April 2005 that his wife was having an affair.
The couple was in the midst of a bitter divorce, and Michael Burton had been sleeping on the living room couch in the couple’s Rancho Cucamonga home.
But during the night of July 14, 2006, he climbed into Otilia Burton’s bed and positioned himself next to her, according to Varela’s account Tuesday of her conversation with Otilia Burton.
Otilia Burton, 35, told Varela that Michael Burton “put his hand around her neck, squeezed, and said, ‘I’m going to kill you,'” Varela testified.
In the early morning of July 16, 2006, Michael Burton did kill his wife — by stabbing her 11 times with a samurai sword. He then tried to commit suicide.
Burton, 48, took the witness stand Tuesday following Varela’s testimony and denied ever climbing into his wife’s bed following his discovery of her affair.
On Monday, Burton testified that he was defending himself from his wife the morning she died.
Otilia Burton attacked him with a Taser, and stabbed him in the chest with a knife, Michael Burton testified.
He also testified that he can’t remember stabbing his wife, having temporarily blacked out during the incident.
Jurors are set to hear closing arguments today from the prosecutor and defense attorney. The jury is expected to begin deliberations this afternoon.
In addition to Otilia Burton’s co-worker, jurors heard testimony on Tuesday — the 11th day of testimony in Michael Burton’s murder trial — from a psychiatrist who had a session with Otilia Burton three days before her death.
Otilia Burton opened up about the problems in her marriage during the 50-minute session, the doctor, Stephen Wysocki, testified Tuesday.
“She told me she was afraid of him,” Wysocki testified.
Otilia Burton told the doctor her husband was jealous because she was having an affair, Wysocki testified.
Prior to their testimony in front of the jury, Judge Raymond L. Haight III heard Varela and Wysocki’s statements to determine which portions of their testimony would be admissible as evidence.
Wysocki testified at the earlier hearing that Otilia Burton said during the therapy session that her husband had threatened to kill her.
Haight ruled that the testimony about Michael Burton’s alleged threat was inadmissible because it was too vague, and the doctor was instructed not to mention it during his testimony in front of the jury.
But the doctor, during his testimony before the jury, mentioned the alleged threat. That prompted Michael Burton’s attorney, Winston McKesson, to move for a mistrial on the grounds that the doctor’s mention of the alleged threat was “very, very prejudicial.”
Haight denied McKesson’s motion, and admonished the jury to disregard the doctor’s testimony about Michael Burton’s alleged threat.