Crime

Ex-boyfriend testifies woman allegedly shot by San Miguel man had harassed him

Another day of emotional testimony about the wild events leading up to the 2009 shooting of a Paso Robles woman transpired in court Wednesday, revealing a twisted web of relationships.

A soldier stationed in Georgia, who more than a decade ago fathered a child with Gina Stanko, the victim of an alleged attempted homicide, testified in San Luis Obispo Superior Court that she had harassed him by calling him as many as 30 times a day after telling him she was pregnant.

Stanko’s daughter also testified she saw defendant Steven Smith of San Miguel fire a shot at her mother after hearing her scream on the night of Nov. 6, 2009. And Smith’s wife, Renee Smith, took the stand again to outline her state of mind prior to the shooting — also saying she had a physical altercation before the alleged shooting with a woman who claimed to be a friend of Stanko’s.

Stanko’s former boyfriend, Henry Ramirez, took the stand as a defense witness in the case. Ramirez said that he met Stanko more than 13 years ago and they briefly dated before she informed him she was pregnant.

The testimony of Ramirez appeared to be a move by the defense to discredit Stanko in the eyes of the jury by showing that she has a pattern of harassing men with whom she gets involved.

Stanko cursed at Ramirez, tripped the circuit breakers at his home and egged his car, prompting him to call police, he testified. He said he’s a veteran of the war in Iraq and is now stationed in Georgia. “She basically said that I’m going to make you (expletive) pay,” Ramirez testified.

Ramirez said he pays $800 per month in child support.

In the early afternoon, prosecutor Andy Cadena called Stanko’s 16-year-old daughter to the stand. She testified that she was upstairs trying to eavesdrop on her mother’s conversation with Steven Smith on the night of the shooting.

The girl testified that she heard screaming and went to a stairwell landing, where she watched Smith fire a shot at her mother’s head before leaving the home without saying anything.

Later in the afternoon, Cadena re-called Renee Smith to the stand to talk about several conversations through text messaging she’d had with her then-fiance about his infidelity with Stanko, and about the effect of Stanko’s harassment.

Cadena tried to paint a portrait of a woman ready to leave her then-fiance, but Renee Smith said repeatedly that they were trying to work out their difficulties.

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