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Prosecutors present new statements from defendant Hernandez in Laurel murder trial

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Posted at 4:16 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-20 10:36:29-04

Officer Patrick Korb of the Billings Police Department testified again Friday in day five of the Laurel murder trial about the extent of the relationship between Lori Bray and the man accused of killing her, Diego Hernandez.

Prosecutors presented an interview to the jury where Korb said he and another officer were contacted by Hernandez requesting an interview.

In the interview recording, Hernandez, 24, said that he and Bray, 57, had a sexual relationship since 2018. He said that on a few occasions he and Bray met at the shack near his house, the same place where officers found cigarette containers in a wood-burning stove.

Hernandez said that Bray wanted the relationship to be a secret. He said that he thought that there may be someone else in Bray’s life that he did not know about.

On Thursday, the jury was presented with new information that Hernandez and Bray did not have any form of communication via cell phone.

According to Korb, Hernandez said that he and Bray only talked to each other at the Cedar Ridge Casino where Bray worked. He also stated that one phone call was made between the two but it was on another phone that had been taken for evidence by police- not the pre-paid iPhone presented earlier in the trial.

Korb said that after reviewing surveillance video from the time Hernandez shows up at the Cedar Ridge Casino, he is seen introducing himself to Bray. He said it seems to him that they are meeting for the first time.

Korb said he also noticed that Hernandez did not have any scratches on the left side of his face that night, prior to police finding them after Bray had been confirmed dead.

Dr. Robert Kurtzman, chief medical examiner for the state of Montana also testified, confirming cause of death as strangulation and that she suffered blunt force trauma to the face and multiple broken ribs.

The trial is expected to continue Monday morning.