HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Tuesday marked the first day of what is expected to be an emotional trial for the suspect in the killing of a Harlingen teenager.

Jesus Saldana Ramirez is charged with murder in the first degree, aggravated sexual assault of a child, and tampering/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair, according to Cameron County records.

Ramirez claims he was defending himself from 15-year-old Alexandra Castillo when he killed her on May 17, 2020. He said Castillo became aggressive after the two met up for sex.

The teenage girl was stabbed 66 times and found with a slashed throat, according to officials.

Tuesday jurors saw a small piece of metal that is believed to be a piece of the murder weapon that was in Alexandra’s skull.

Castillo was described as a troubled teen who ran away while in the custody of Child Protective Services.

During the trial, jurors heard testimony from the EMT driver who found Castillo’s body. The driver said he noticed large birds along Bob Youker Street south of the airport in Harlingen before seeing Alexandra’s bright red hair as she lay facedown in the grass.

Ramirez is accused of cleaning the car they had sex in and the blood stains.

At today’s trial, a Texas Ranger testified that he found cleaning supplies in the car.

Castillo’s mom, Elsa, is barred from entering the court because she has been ordered to testify, presumably to explain why her daughter was in CPS custody.

ValleyCentral will continue following this trial throughout the week.