Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 12:55 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 9:15 p.m.
Jason Griffith dabbed tears from his face as he testified Wednesday that the ex-girlfriend he's accused of strangling and dismembering three years ago was a dangerous, volatile woman who threatened to kill him months before a confrontation between them ended with her death.
Taking the witness stand in his defense, Griffith, 35, said Deborah Flores Narvaez was so violent and persistent that he begrudgingly summoned police on at least five occasions in which she harassed him. But police never took his accusations seriously and Narvaez was never arrested, Griffith said, and she subsequently taunted him, picked physical fights and called Griffith a coward.
"It's embarrassing," said Griffith, who is standing trial in Clark County District Court. "People just don't believe this stuff actually happens, but it actually happens."
Griffith and Flores each danced in Strip productions — Griffith was a dancer in the Cirque du Soleil show "Love" at Mirage, and Flores, 31, performed in the "Fantasy" revue at Luxor. Their once-casual relationship soured after Griffith broke up with Flores because he wanted to date other women. She became possessive and started stalking Griffith and sending hundreds of emails and texts per day, he said.
"Anytime I pulled back, she'd get really intense," Griffith said.
Jurors listened to a series of 911 calls placed by the defendant along with photos of Flores with bloodied hands and arms after breaking a bedroom window at Griffith's house. In a 911 call accompanying the photos, a woman could be heard in the background screaming, "It's going to go against you."
Defense attorneys also showed a hand-written note that was placed on Griffith's car threatening to kill him if he dated someone else.
The evidence and testimony presented today aims to build the argument that Griffith acted in self defense when Flores died during a fight at his Las Vegas home Dec. 12, 2010. Two witnesses who also took the stand today — an ex-boyfriend of Flores' and his best friend — testified that she was violent before meeting Griffith.
The defendant's former roommate, who has been granted immunity from prosecution in the case, told jurors Tuesday that he saw Griffith place his hands around Flores' neck the day she died. Louis Colombo said he helped Griffith dispose of the body inside tubs filled with concrete and watched as the defendant sawed off her legs.
Griffith's testimony will continue Thursday.