Orlando Tercero appeared in Nicaraguan court on Tuesday to be tried for the murder of Binghamton University nursing student Haley Anderson.
Several witnesses, including Anderson’s mother and classmates, testified against Tercero during the first day of his trial through a livestream set up in the Broome County District Attorney’s Office, making use of an interpreter to translate their testimony into Spanish. Nicaraguan prosecutors used their testimony to build a motive against Tercero, who they say killed Anderson out of jealousy after she ended their relationship.
Tercero is accused of strangling Anderson, 22, of Westbury, New York, in his Oak Street student residence on Binghamton’s West Side. Anderson’s body was discovered on March 9, 2018 after police responded to a welfare check.
Nicaraguan prosecutors said on Tuesday that Tercero left a note next to Anderson’s body that said “I’m sorry” and took a flight from New York to Nicaragua immediately following the murder. Prosecutors said he texted his sister to tell her that he had left the United States. Days after landing in Nicaragua, Tercero was apprehended by Nicaraguan authorities. Since then, he has been incarcerated at the Directorate of Judicial Assistance, a Nicaraguan prison more commonly referred to as “El Chipote.”
Legal proceedings are being held in Managua, Nicaragua, after Nicaraguan officials denied requests from the United States to extradite the 23-year-old former BU student, who holds dual citizenship. Under currently existing extradition treaty, Nicaragua is not required to extradite Nicaraguan citizens facing charges in the United States.
In Nicaragua, Tercero is being charged with femicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years behind bars. He is facing a second-degree murder charge in the United States, which carries a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Anderson’s mother, Karen, was the first witness to speak. In her eight-minute testimony, she said Anderson and Tercero met in nursing classes at the University and were in an “on and off” relationship “for maybe a year.”
Josephine Artin, ‘18, Anderson’s former roommate, said Anderson didn’t consider her relationship with Tercero a serious one, and eventually wanted to just be friends, especially since they regularly fought as a couple.
“Orlando has always been obsessive over Haley,” Artin said. “He has always been upset with her over something.”
In September 2017, shortly after breaking up with Tercero, Anderson filed a police report when her tires were slashed outside her West Side student residence. In the report, Anderson told the responding officer that she strongly suspected Tercero damaged her tires. The incident was investigated as criminal mischief and caused roughly $600 in damage to Anderson’s car, but ultimately, Anderson declined to press charges and told police she would attempt to resolve the matter civilly.
After that incident, Anderson and her friends were wary of Tercero, and when Anderson did not return home, Artin said she and her roommates were concerned about her well-being. They tracked Anderson’s phone to Tercero’s house, and when nobody answered the door, broke in through a window. As Anderson’s friends and family sobbed, Artin described finding Anderson’s body tucked into Tercero’s bed, with severe bruising on her neck and arms.
“He’s my top suspect,” she said. “I don’t see how it could be someone else.”
The trial will continue on Friday, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. More witnesses are scheduled to speak, and the Broome County District Attorney’s Office said they will make witnesses available as requested by Nicaraguan prosecutors for the length of the trial.