Jurors Watch Video of Soto Interrogation


Jurors in the murder trial of Gladis Soto watched a two-hour videotape Tuesday in which the defendant describes to a Ventura police detective how she fatally shot, cut up and burned the body of her abusive husband after he raped and beat her on Feb. 20.

“I waited for him to fall asleep,” Soto told Det. Ralph Martinez during an interrogation after her arrest. “I shot him.”

As the videotape played for the jury in Ventura County Superior Court, Soto, 38, slumped over the defense table and at one point dissolved into loud sobs.


Defense attorney Jorge Alvarado requested a brief recess to console his client, who faces 50 years to life in state prison if convicted of first-degree murder and other charges.

After the break, jurors heard Soto explain to Martinez how she purchased a .25-caliber gun four days before the shooting. She tells the detective she borrowed $100 and asked the unidentified young man she bought the weapon from to load it for her.

But when pressed by Martinez, Soto was unable to clearly explain why she bought the gun.

“I wanted to have it in the house, but I never thought of hurting him,” she says, referring to her husband of 15 years, Pedro Alba.

Prosecutors contend Soto bought the gun to commit murder. Defense attorneys say she bought it to defend herself from an abusive spouse.

During two interviews with Martinez, Soto discussed her stormy marriage and the events before and after the shooting.

The first interview took place in the bedroom of Soto’s Ventura apartment just hours after authorities identified Alba’s remains. The second interview took place at the Ventura police station and was videotaped. During that interview, Soto describes Alba as a womanizer and a violent man who beat, kicked and humiliated her.


“I was always hopeful he would change,” she said.

But on the night before the slaying, she told Martinez, Alba dressed nicely, took a few Viagra and told his wife he was leaving to see another woman.

“I was very angry,” Soto admitted.

When Alba came home, she said, he beat her, grabbed her hair, forced her to have sex and then rolled over and fell asleep. Soto said she cried for about 30 minutes and then took the gun from a kitchen cabinet.

She told Martinez she crept up to her sleeping husband, placed the muzzle next to his head and fired a single fatal shot. She then hid his body in a closet and 18 hours later dragged it to a garage.

“I tried to put him in the car,” she told the detective. “When I saw I couldn’t pick him up, I cut his hands, his feet, his head.”

Soto said she placed the body parts in trash bags and lugged them to the dry riverbed so the police “would not know that it was me.”

Testimony is scheduled to resume this morning.