Beaten but alive and gasping for breath, Kimberly Cardona lay on the side of a remote road in Salisbury Township when Jonathan Nunez allegedly returned to slit her throat sometime on July 4, according to a Salisbury Police officer's testimony Friday in Lehigh County Court.
District Judge Michael J. Faulkner determined at Nunez's preliminary hearing on homicide charges Friday in Central Court there was sufficient evidence for the case to be tried in Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas.
Salisbury Police Sgt. Donald Sabo testified that Nunez, 20, of Allentown, told police in a five-hour videotaped interview on Aug. 2 at the Salisbury Township Police Department that he and Cardona, 20, of Whitehall, were in a car on Lanze Road when "an altercation took place" that escalated into a physical assault.
The pair stepped out of the car and during the assault, Nunez got a cut on his finger that started to bleed, Sabo said. "He started to hit and assault Miss Cardona," Sabo testifed. Cardona fell to the ground, he said, and lay unconscious on the edge of Lanze Road.
Nunez told police he left to go to Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street, to get medical treatment for the cut to his finger, where he got several stitches, Sabo said.
Nunez said he returned to Lanze Road where he found "Miss Cardona was still gasping for air" on the side of the road, Sabo said.
"He slit her throat and moved her off the roadway," Sabo said.
Nunez told police he drove to New Jersey and New York City, where he stayed one night, Sabo said. Nunez then took a flight out of John F. Kennedy Airport to the Dominican Republic, where he stayed until he returned for his interview with Salisbury police, Sabo said. Nunez was arrested and charged with homicide on Aug. 2.
A resident of Lanze Road (referred to as Lanze Lane on street signs) who was walking his dogs around dusk July 5 discovered Cardona's body and called police.
When police investigated the crime scene, they found a box cutter underneath Cardona's body, and collected several other items, including a pair of eyeglasses, eyeglass lenses, and clothing and logs with blood splatter, Sabo said.
Sabo testified when he arrived at the crime scene around 9 p.m. there was an odor of bleach and decomposition. Cardona had no identification on her, but Whitehall Township Police issued a missing person alert for Cardona when investigators were at the scene, he said.
The results of an autopsy by Lehigh County Coroner's office determined that Cardona died of blunt and sharp force trauma to the head and neck sometime after 7 p.m. July 4, 2012, and that her death was the result of a homicide.
An arraignment has been scheduled for Nov. 16, according to Defense Attorney Glenn Clark.