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Shank text message opens Gainesville murder trial
Man accused of stabbing victim to death
Judge Bonnie Oliver presides over Hall County Superior Court Tuesday morning during the murder trial of Eric Aurelio Reyes. Reyes is charged with the Jan. 18, 2016, murder of Evan Isaac Rosas, 22, at The Preserve at Tumbling Creek Apartments.

The defendant in a murder trial sent a text message saying he would “shank” the victim if he entered a Gainesville apartment, according to testimony Tuesday.

Eric Aurelio Reyes, of Gainesville, faces a murder charge among other counts in a February 2016 indictment. On Jan. 17, 2016, Reyes is accused of stabbing Evan Isaac Rosas, 22, at The Preserve at Tumbling Creek Apartments.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance carried a cutout of Rosas’ approximate size “so we can kind of remember him in this trial and also see his stature.”

Vance said Reyes was some 8 inches taller than the alleged victim in the case.

Much of Vance’s opening statement to the jury returned to a text message sent by Reyes to Rosas’ friend, who was with the victim at the gym.

The text said if Rosas stepped inside the apartment, Reyes would “shank him dead ass,” according to testimony.

“(Reyes) grabs him and puts him against the wall,” Vance said when the two began fighting.

Defense attorney Brett Willis said his client had been staying at the apartment and told the jury of trouble two months prior at a Day of the Dead party.

Rosas was told not to come to the party, and a fight broke out after the man arrived.

“As a result of what happens at this party, the roommates … all agree that they are scared,” Willis said.

One of the key eyewitnesses told the jury the two started arguing in the apartment after Reyes sent the text message.

Dr. Geoffrey Smith of the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office took the stand to testify on Rosas’ three stab wounds, including one to the heart.

Willis demonstrated on the Rosas cutout while using a remote control to show the angles on the stab wounds.

The case continues in Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver’s courtroom.