A woman accused of fatally stabbing her estranged wife was seen outside their San Carlos apartment hours before the victim was found dead, a San Diego police detective testified Thursday.
Tiffany Nowden, 39, is charged with murder in the June 5 death of 38-year-old Russina Vale.
In a preliminary hearing, Detective Gary Avalos testified that a man who lived in the apartment complex told him that he saw Nowden by the trunk of her car as Vale left for work about 5:30 a.m.
The witness told the detective he waved to Nowden but didn’t get a wave back.
When the witness got home, his wife told him that someone have been a murdered in the complex, Avalos testified.
Police found the victim’s naked body on a bed about 6 a.m. She had been stabbed in the stomach, arm and chest.
Deputy District Attorney Lindsey Carinci said Nowden and Vale — who had an “on-and-off” relationship — reconnected in November 2013 and got married early this year.
Things seemed to be going well until late May, when Vale got into an argument with Nowden at the Barona Casino, where Vale worked. Nowden was escorted off the Indian reservation, Carinci said.
The prosecutor said Vale sent an email to family members and friends, saying his relationship with Nowden was over, and she was getting a divorce.
The morning of June 5, Vale’s co-workers went to her home on Mission Gorge Road when she failed to show up for work but did not get an answer when they knocked on the door.
Several hours later, police got a call from a criminal defense attorney, telling them that they might find a deceased person in the Mission Gorge Road home.
A U.S. Marshals Service task force found Nowden at a home in the 2200 block of Market Street in Sherman Heights and arrested her.
At the end of the preliminary hearing, which will continue Friday, Judge Jay Bloom will decide if enough evidence was presented for Nowden to stand trial. If convicted, she faces 56 years to life in prison.
—City News Service
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