ST. GEORGE, SC (WCSC) - The man accused in of killing a woman he met on a social media phone app testified during his trial Wednesday afternoon that the death was accidental.
Edward Bonilla is charged with murder in the death of Ashley Pegram during a date in April of last year.
Bonilla took the stand in his own defense at his trial Wednesday and testified he was driving Pegram home after a party at his brother's house. As he drove her home, he says, Pegram accused him of stealing her mother's cell phone.
He said Pegram told him she had to use a restroom. Bonilla said when Pegram got out of his car started fighting with him and kicked his car.
He said he backed up the car, hit her, then tried to restrain the woman. Bonilla testified he put Pegram in a bear hug or choke hold and she fell to the ground dead.
The accused murderer said he went back to his apartment, got his work van, drove back to get Pegram's body.
He then put a bag over her head, wrapped her head and neck in electrical tape and buried her in the woods in Harleyville.
Bonilla initially told investigators he dropped Pegram off at a gas station and drove off. In court Wednesday, he admitted he sent a phony Kik message to Pegram's phone to throw investigators off track.
The case could go to the jury as early as Thursday.
Cameras were not allowed to record his testimony.
If convicted of murder, Bonilla faces up to life in prison.