Formal arguments began Thursday during the preliminary hearing for Edward Aragon of Rocky Ford, who has been charged with the murder of his alleged girlfriend, Amanda Ybarra, in July 2015 in Rocky Ford.

Formal arguments began Thursday during the preliminary hearing for Edward Aragon of Rocky Ford, who has been charged with the murder of his alleged girlfriend, Amanda Ybarra, in July 2015 in Rocky Ford.

Both the prosecution and the defense questioned several witnesses including the El Paso County Coroner Dr. Robert Bux, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Ybarra and Otero County Coroner Bob Fowler, who pronounced Ybarra deceased at the apparent crime scene.

Should the judge, District Judge Mike Davidson of the 15th Judicial District, find sufficient cause to send the case to trial, much of the same information/evidence will be presented and many of the same witnesses called to testify.

Dr. Bux was asked to relate the procedure he employs in an autopsy and also was questioned about autopsy photographs and what they illustrated. In his testimony, Bux indicated Ybarra’s cause of death was “multiple incised wounds on the neck.”

In other words, there were several “clean and well-defined wounds” to her neck.

Those wounds, according to his report, “transected (severed) the right carotid artery at two levels” and the jugular veins on both sides were transected, also.

The severity of these injuries, he stated, were “fatal.”

Photographic evidence of at least 10 stab wounds to her neck, three stab wounds on her abdomen, two wounds below her lower lip, six incised wounds to the back of her head and at least “31 stab wounds to her back” was presented.

Of the injuries to Ybarra’s back, Bux indicated four of the wounds caused lung and liver damage.

The neck wounds, he testified, also showed Ybarra’s larynx had been cut twice which would have prohibited her, in his opinion, from making any sound such as screaming.

Also as part of the autopsy, fluid from Ybarra’s body (vitreous fluid, urine and cavity blood) was collected.

According to Bux, test results indicated Ybarra had used alcohol, “some meth, some amphetamine, some cocaine in the recent past.”

Blood alcohol level was difficult to determine, he said, because that test normally utilizes blood drawn from a vein. Since Ybarra had “bled out,” blood was collected from the chest cavity.

With a catalogued 52 stab wounds to her body, Bux said he was able to retrieve only “about one tablespoon” -- a very small amount -- from each chest cavity.

Aragon’s public defender Ray Torrez began his cross-examination of Bux by questioning the length of time it took the medical examiner to issue his final report after the autopsy.

The date of Ybarra’s death, Torrez said, was July 24, 2015, and the autopsy was conducted July 27, 2015.

Bux’s final report was not issued until April 2016 and Torrez asked for answers “as to the cause of the delay.”

Several reasons were forthcoming including Bux’s statement he “waited on CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) photos for five to six weeks.”

If Bux’s staff had their own photographs from the autopsy, why did the doctor “need” CBI’s Torrez asked. Pressing for a satisfactory answer, Torrez asked Bux if he had completed past reports with just one set of photographs, to which Bux responded in the affirmative.

Torrez also asked about the presence of “ejaculate” on Ybarra’s body as it has been alleged at least two different sperm samples were collected from the remains.

Bux did not test vaginal fluid in his office but sent the vaginal swabs to CBI, he said. The medical examiner also testified he “did not see vaginal trauma or bruising.”

One person interviewed during the investigation stated Aragon struck Ybarra with a pistol but Bux said his examination of the body showed no such injury.

Torrez asked Bux to explain lividity. Lividity, Bux explained, is discoloration of the flesh caused from pooling of blood and fluid in a body after death.

Blood and fluid pool at the lowest part of the body and lividity is used to establish the time of death and even if a body was moved after death. Reasoning for this line of questioning, according to Torrez, is to determine if Ybarra was standing when she was killed or on her stomach or back.