Vanessa Pham murder: Julio Blanco Garcia murder trial begins

Julio Blanco Garcia walks into the courtroom Monday. Photo: Pool photo via The Washington Post

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) - The man accused of brutally killing a 19-year-old girl in Falls Church in 2010 pleaded not guilty to the murder Monday.

During opening statements Monday, prosecutors said Julio Blanco Garcia purposefully armed himself and killed Vanessa Pham.

The defense, meanwhile, asked the jury to convicted Blanco Garcia of a lesser charge.

“We will ask you to convict him of the crime he is guilty of, not the crime the commonwealth accused him of,” says his attorney Alberto Salvado.

Fairfax Police Sgt. Daniel Pang testified the interior of Pham's car was covered in blood “on car, seat, victim.”

Tracy To, Pham’s cousin, testified Monday that the victim never mentioned Blanco Garcia and To had never seen him.

“That’s Vanessa, she’s with her friends” says To, her voice cracking when shown a picture of a smiling Pham. Pham was nine years younger than To.

Blanco Garcia is charged with stabbing Pham in her car after she left the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center on June 27, 2010. Blanco Garcia was arrested after prosecutors found DNA evidence allegedly linking him to the murder.

TWITTER: Follow @ABC7Kris and #phamtrial for the latest on the Vanessa Pham trial.

Blanco Garcia is accused to have lured Pham by asking her for a ride to a nearby hospital, according to the Washington Post. When she went the wrong way down a road, prosecutors allege he panicked and stabbed Pham 13 times.

At the time of the alleged killing, Blanco Garcia was with his infant daughter.

The suspect was allegedly high on PCP at the time of the stabbing.

For the first time in several years, Fairfax County is allowing cameras in the courtroom.