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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man accused of killing a preschool teacher who was trying to stop him from beating his girlfriend later told his girlfriend that he made the "ultimate sacrifice" for her, according to jail phone recordings played for jurors Thursday.
Prosecutors allege Adrian Gonzales, 31, assaulted his girlfriend, killed the teacher and stabbed another man during a December 2011 dispute at a mobile home park in Pojoaque, about 15 miles north of Santa Fe.
The phone conversations played for jurors were recorded at the Santa Fe County jail shortly after Gonzales' arrest in the stabbing death of 21-year-old Victoriano "Mo" Moises Byrne-Gonzales, who taught at the Playschool of the Arts in Santa Fe.
Gonzales, of Dixon, has pleaded not guilty.
In one of the recordings, Gonzales tells his then-girlfriend that he is facing life in prison and that Byrne-Gonzales and the other man, Santiago Cordova, were attacking him after his fight with her. The girlfriend is heard crying, and repeatedly apologizes for the altercation.
Assistant District Attorney Susan Stinson said Byrne-Gonzales was only "trying to do the right thing" when he was stabbed in the neck while attempting to stop Gonzales from beating the woman.
But Gonzales' attorney, Megan Dorsey, says her client was acting in self-defense. In her opening statements, she said Gonzales was "confronted by two bullies" who tried to take the law into their own hands.
According to Dorsey, Gonzales grabbed his girlfriend only because a red truck was driving down the road and might have hit her.
Prosecutors argued, however, that Gonzales had grabbed her and bit her ear.
During another recorded phone call, Gonzales is heard mentioning the truck to his girlfriend, who said she didn't remember it.
The girlfriend tells Gonzales that her ear hurt. But when Gonzales asks her why, she says, "I'm not going to say it on the phone."
Gonzales is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and battery on a household member. Testimony in his trial is expected to continue Friday in New Mexico District Court in Santa Fe, and could go into next week.