Marisela Botello murder trial: Suspect, girlfriend knelt in front of Grim Reaper statue in home, witness says

Prosecutors called investigators and witnesses to the stand on Thursday for the third day of testimony in the murder trial of Lisa Dykes.

Dykes is accused of murdering 23-year-old Marisela Botello, a Seattle woman who was visiting a friend in Dallas, in 2020.

Prosecutors say Dykes stabbed Botello after finding her in bed with Charles Beltran, Dykes' boyfriend, in her Mesquite home.

Marisela Botello

Dykes, Beltran and Dykes' wife, Nina Marano, are all charged in the killing.

Investigation into disappearance


The jury was shown surveillance video of Botello entering a Dallas-area 7-Eleven with Charles Beltran at around 1:20 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2020, just hours before prosecutors argue Dykes killed Botello in a jealous rage.

Dallas police detectives explained how they traced the victim's final movements using a license read to get a hit on Beltran's ID.

"We pulled the license plate picture of Mr. Beltran and it matched the person who walked with Marisela to that 7-Eleven that morning," said Det. Stephen Prince, with the Dallas Police Department.

Investigators say that Dykes tried to call Beltran several times around the time investigators believe she was dumping Botello's body.

On October 15, detectives showed up to Dykes home to try to talk to Beltran.

No one answered the door.

Charles Beltran's Girlfriend Testifies


Charles Beltran

In court Thursday, it was revealed that Beltran was dating another woman at the time Botello disappeared from Deep Ellum.

That woman, whose identity was not disclosed in court, testified she was supposed to meet up with Beltran at 2 a.m. when she got off work.

"It made me feel like he was with somebody else because he never answered," she said.

The woman said she was with Beltran on the afternoon of Oct. 5, 2020, the same day detectives say Dykes stabbed Botello to death inside Beltran's room.

"After that he never took me back to the house. He would always want to stay in hotels," the woman said.

Prosecutors maintain Beltran, Dykes and another woman, Nina Marano, were in a three-way relationship at the Mesquite home.

Nina Marano's Neighbor Testifies


Charles Beltran (left), Nina Marano (center), Lisa Dykes (right)

Marano owned a home in Pennsylvania prior to moving in with Dykes and Beltran in Texas.

Her next door neighbor, a real estate agent, testified that days after Botello was killed, Marano called her in a panic about the Pennsylvania home.

"She just said that it had to be listed right away. It seemed urgent," said Jamie Scarpa.

Scarpa said, in November 2020, Marano shipped a black Audi A3 to her home and asked Scarpa to put a cover over it. Investigators said it was Beltran's car and police were looking for it. 

Scarpa said Dykes even came to Marano's Pennsylvania home to sign the listing documents and that during a tour of the house, she got the shock of her life: a statue of the grim reaper.


"Inside that closet there was a life-size statue of a skeleton, and it was wearing a robe, and it was holding something like this, with a mat on the floor in front of it," said Scarpa.

[PROSECUTOR: "And what did they do in front of that?"]

"Kneeled," Scarpa replied.

[PROSECUTOR: "What did you think if that?"]

"I was ready to go," Scarpa said.

Scarpa said Dallas detectives showed up to Marano's Pennsylvania home on Nov. 27, 2020, but no one was there.

The house was sold in March 2021 and proceeds were wired to Marano.

On March 25, the women were arrested in Florida.

"Door opened up, she came out, she was cooperative," Orange County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Ames said.

Dykes’ younger brother testified that, for many years, she helped him out financially, but in March 2021, she called him asking for money, hours before her arrest. 

"Later on in the day, the police showed up and told us what was going on," Jimmy Dykes recalled. "All my years of life, I would never dream such a thing could transpire."

Botello's body was found in a wooded area of Wilmer, south of Dallas, months after she disappeared.

After Dykes and Marano were arrested, they disabled their ankle monitors and fled to Cambodia, though there still hasn’t been any evidence presented about that.


The prosecution plans to call Charles Beltran to the stand at some point during the trial.

The defense has indicated that Dykes may also take the stand in her own defense.