NELIGH, Neb. — Saying that he didn’t intend to kill his ex-girlfriend and her husband, Matthew Hinrichsen testified Thursday that he went to the couple’s home to scare the man.
Hinrichsen, 33, of Ewing, is on trial on two charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Victoria Lee, 25, and her new husband, Alex Vargas, on Dec. 8, 2012.
Answering questions Thursday from his lawyer, Todd Lancaster of the Nebraska Public Advocacy Commission, Hinrichsen said he got a text from Lee that night saying she was going to her parents’ home in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
Fueled by a night of drinking, Hinrichsen said, he drove shortly before midnight to his parents’ home, where he lived, then decided to go a little farther to Vargas’ trailer.
Lancaster asked him why.
“Because I wanted to confront him,” Hinrichsen said. “I just wanted him to move away.”
When Hinrichsen arrived at the trailer, he saw Vargas’ white vehicle and then spotted Lee’s green Jetta. He said that upset him and he “lost control.”
Hinrichsen said he rammed Vargas’ vehicle with the Ford Explorer he was driving.
Hinrichsen said he thought Vargas would come out after hearing the crash. When he didn’t, Hinrichsen said, he reached for an AK-47 he planned to use for raccoon hunting.
Hinrichsen said he grabbed the AK-47 to intimidate Vargas.
He said he pounded on the door, but no lights came on. He shot out the window in the door, reached in and unlocked it.
Hinrichsen said he walked down the hallway to confront Vargas. He tried to open the bedroom door, but he said it was either locked or held shut. So he shot through the door twice, Hinrichsen said. Once inside, he found Vargas lying face down in a pool of blood.
Lee was kneeling beside the bed, talking on the phone. She got up, ran around the edge of the bed, he said. Hinrichsen said he hit her with the AK-47, but didn’t know how many times.
He said he felt hurt and betrayed because he didn’t expect to see her there with Vargas.
In response to a question, Hinrichsen said he heard the 911 call to the dispatcher that was played earlier in the trial.
In that call, a male voice could be heard yelling obscenities at a woman telling her to die, along with the woman’s voice calling for help and at another point saying, “Please stop.”
Lancaster asked Hinrichsen if he thought that was his voice.
“I have no doubt in my mind that was me,” he said, but he did not remember it.
Hinrichsen and his attorneys, Lancaster and Pat Carney of Norfolk, are not disputing that he killed them. Instead, they argue that something caused Hinrichsen to lose control.
Earlier Thursday, Lancaster asked Judge James Kube to dismiss the first-degree murder charges because there was no evidence of premeditation. Kube found there was enough evidence for the trial to continue.
Under questioning, Hinrichsen said he remembered having trouble believing what he did. He decided to drive back to the trailer.
“I wanted to make sure what I did was real,” he said.
Hinrichsen said it was a mess, with blood everywhere. He didn’t want to leave the mess, so he decided to burn it, he said.
He then went back home, parked the vehicle in front of the house and left a suicide note for his parents.
Hinrichsen said he intended to shoot himself with a pistol but didn’t. Then he saw deputies and asked them to shoot him.