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Family of murdered Cottonwood woman testifies in murder retrial

By Shay Arthur
Published On: Oct 17 2013 09:22:52 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 18 2013 12:22:49 PM CDT
Duenas Day 6 pic
REDDING, Calif. -

Several family members of Karen Duenas testified Thursday in Shasta County court.

Her husband Mark Duenas, accused of stabbing her to death sat and watched his sons Casey and Jason Duenas take the stand.

Casey finished his testimony from yesterday.

He said when he returned home from going to a movie with a friend sometime after 12:00 a.m. he did not notice a light on in his mother's bedroom.

Shortly after he fell asleep he was roused awake by his father, Mark Duenas, frantically telling him to go next door to his older brother Jason's house for help because something was wrong with mom.    

Casey said he was in a daze and scared.

Jason testified when he came to the house and saw his mother he hoped she wasn't dead but knew there was too much blood around her body for her to be alive.

He described Mark as distraught -- repeatedly asking if Karen was OK.

Prosecutor Stephanie Bridgett also called Jason's wife, Jenifer Duenas who said at one time Karen had confided in her.

She discovered Mark had a phone relationship with a woman out of state and had received a letter from that woman.

Included in the letter were gift cards, similar to ones Mark had given Karen.

Hugh Tenney, Karen's father also testified -- he didn't in the last trial.

Tenney told jurors he had seen his daughter two weeks before she was murdered.

She was upset, telling him she and Mark were having problems because of his relations with another woman.     

He said that was the last time he saw his daughter alive.

Several of Karen's fellow nursing classmates also testified, describing Karen as a hard worker and devoted to school.

Karen was found stabbed to death in her Cottonwood home on May 5, 2012.

Shortly after her death the Shasta County Sheriff's Office named her husband of nearly 33 years, Mark,  a person of interest.

However five months passed before he was arrested and charged with her murder on Oct. 5, 2012.

His first summer trial of 2013 ended with the judge declaring a hung jury after jurors declared they were "hopelessly deadlocked" in favor of acquittal 9-3.

The prosecution said they plan to play the 911 tape on Friday where they claim Mark admits to killing Karen.