Defendant Testifies He Didn't Mean to Kill Girlfriend

Defendant Testifies He Didn't Mean to Kill Girlfriend

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- John Pete Vinanti testified he loved his girlfriend and has no memory of her dying when he beat her after getting drunk.

Vinanti testified at his first-degree felony murder trial Monday that he did not know Brenda Lee Lundell was dead until he woke up the morning of Sept. 30 and found her ice-cold body next to him in bed.

Vinanti, 40,said he did not remember every detail of what he did with her body, which her son found wrapped in a blanket under her bed Oct. 2.

"I don't know what I was doing," Vinanti said. "I don't know why I wrapped her in a blanket."

Prosecutors say evidence indicates the 45-year-old woman still was alive when she was pushed under the bed. A medical examiner testified earlier that had Vinanti called an ambulance, Lundell would have likely survived.

She died from blunt force injuries to her head, which were probably exacerbated by her alcohol intoxication, according to the medical examiner.

Vinanti said he couldn't remember what started the fight the night before.

"During the fight I know I hit Brenda and she fell back and hit the dresser," Vinanti said. "After she went down on the ground she was bleeding and I walked out of the room."

The next morning, Vinanti said, Lundell's body was "ice cold."

"I remember when I started to walk next to the bed that I stepped in a pool of blood," Vinanti said.

In a panic, he said, he moved her body under the bed, locked the doors and ignored what had happened until Lundell's 21-year-old son came looking for his mother on Oct. 2.

Deputy Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman questioned Vinanti's story of waking up next to Lundell. Buhman said police found two spots where blood had soaked through the carpet, yet no blood was found on the bed.

The trial, originally scheduled to run through Aug. 29, could conclude by Wednesday, 4th District Judge Fred Howard told the jury.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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