Novella's turbulent relationship with the woman he allegedly murdered
Diego Novella was “fed up” and “exasperated” after months of caring for his girlfriend‚ Gabriela Alban who suffered from Lyme disease.
In a series of text messages between Alban and her mother Doris Weitz‚ the two discussed how the couple’s relationship was faltering‚ it emerged in the High Court in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Weitz has previously recounted a troubled relationship; saying the first time she had seen them together they did not seem “romantic‚ but looked like two friends.”
Novella stands accused of murdering Alban in Cape Town in 2015.
Weitz said her daughter had been living with Novella for close to a year in Guatemala City. In a message to her mother Alban said he could no longer care for her and had become “lazy”.
In addition‚ she said‚ the couple fought often.
But defence attorney William Booth alleged that Alban had been abusive at times due to mood swings brought on by her medication. Booth then asked if Weitz knew of instances when Alban hit Novella.
“I seriously doubt that. She could barely get out of bed. She had trouble lifting a bottle. In fact I have heard the contrary Mr Booth‚” Weitz said.
Weitz said seven months after moving to Guatemala City‚ a medical emergency left Novella “frustrated”. Weitz said she received several SMS messages and calls from Novella — all with the same message: “Come and get her. I can’t take it anymore.”
But Booth‚ during his cross-examination‚ told Weitz that his client was concerned about Alban’s well-being. He also spoke about Novella having her admitted to a Guatemalan hospital.
“I cannot know what is going on in the accused’s mind‚” Weitz said.
Weitz scoffed at the hospital stay saying her daughter called it “the worst hospital in Guatemala”.
“She asked me ‘how is it possible for this person who says he loves me to take me to such a place?’”
Alban returned to Los Angeles less than a week later.
“It seemed very unusual for her to come back on the 31st‚ it’s a day of festivities‚ its New Year’s Eve. It just seemed strange to me.”
Eventually Weitz said her daughter “opened up to her” and told her “Diego and I are over”.
Booth spent the rest of his cross examination addressing some of her testimony which included a conversation she had with Novella. She claimed he spoke about “aliens and money being the root of all evil”.
“Lots of people talk about aliens and there is nothing wrong with them. They aren’t crazy. Maybe we all have a little crazy in us‚” Booth said.
“Depends on what kind of crazy you are talking about‚” responded Weitz.