20-Year-Old Floridian On Trial For Killing Romantic Rival

A teenage love triangle is being blamed for the murder of an 18-year-old, as the trial of her alleged killer begins.

Rachel Wade, 20, is accused by Pinellas County, Florida prosecutors of having stabbed 18-year-old Sarah Ludemann to death during a confrontation last year. Both women had been involved with Joshua Camacho, 20, and had become involved in an escalating rivalry over him. A series of arguments and accusations that took place via text messages, voicemails and the social networking site MySpace culminated in a physical confrontation in April 2009, when Ludemann and two friends encountered Wade outside a mutual friend’s home.

Attorneys for Wade—who is 5’4” and 110 lbs.–are arguing that she feared for her own safety when approached by Ludemann, who is 5’9” and weighs 166 lbs, and two other women. Witnesses for the prosecution, however, painted a very different picture, one in which Wade lured Ludemann to her location and attacked her with a knife almost before the victim had gotten out of her car.

Janet Camacho, Joshua Camacho’s sister and a friend of Ludemann’s, and another friend, Jilica Smith, testified that they while they were riding in Ludemann’s car to a McDonald’s, Wade telephoned Ludemann and told her “I’m going to stab you and your Mexican boyfriend.” After encountering mutual acquaintances who told them where Wade was, they drove there, Ludemann stopping her vehicle abruptly just inches from Wade’s car.

That’s when the attack occurred, according to prosecutors, who say Wade grabbed a knife and stabbed Ludemann twice as she attempted to get out of her car. Only one witness, Dustin Grimes, testified that the three women exited their vehicle and approached Wade, and that the attack actually happened between the two cars.

Prosecutors played a 911 call placed the night of the killing. In it, Smith can be heard screaming, “Rachel just … stabbed her.” They also plan on letting jurors hear a series of threatening voicemails that Wade left for Ludemann over an eight-month period, including one in which she can be heard saying “I’m guaranteeing you I’m going to … murder you.”

Wade, who was 19 at the time of the killing, is charged with second-degree murder. She could be sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 20 and a half years, if she is convicted.

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