Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Husband Threatened to Kill Wife, Ex-Pal Says

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Husband Threatened to Kill Wife, Ex-Pal Says

Article excerpt

A New Milford man on trial for the alleged rape and murder of his estranged wife three years ago vowed to kill her if he ever caught her with another man, a prosecution witness testified Thursday.

But Sebastian Colorado told jurors he never warned the 23-year- old victim, Shaday Betancourth, her brother, Andres, with whom she was staying in Teaneck, or anyone else about the threat uttered by Pedro Gutierrez in the weeks before he is alleged to have slashed her throat with a kitchen knife.

He just couldn't imagine that Gutierrez, 27, would do such a thing, said Colorado, who often socialized with the couple at barbecues, the beach and parties.

Colorado, who owns restaurants in Englewood, Paterson and Clifton, said he "used to be good friends" with Gutierrez and had employed him as a busboy at his Englewood restaurant. He said he met the ill-fated couple through his girlfriend at the time, who lived in the same house on East Forest Avenue as the victim's brother, a waiter at one of his restaurants.

In the late summer of 2011, Shaday Betancourth told him that she planned to return to Colombia to live with her father, Colorado testified. "She wanted to start a new life in Colombia. She wanted to go to school there," he said.

Asked by Bergen County Assistant Prosecutor Wayne Mello if Gutierrez was part of her plans, he said no.

Betancourth traveled to Cali, Colombia, but returned weeks later and moved in with her brother in his small, one-room basement apartment.

Several days before she was killed, Colorado said, Gutierrez told him that "he was feeling their relationship was over" and he wanted to get her back. Suspecting that she "was going out" with someone, Gutierrez told him, "if he ever sees her with somebody else ... he would kill them both," Colorado said, and it was not the only time he had made that threat.

Colorado said Gutierrez also showed him a text message on his phone in which "Shaday was asking him to leave her alone. She told Pedro to understand that their relationship was over," he said. …

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