A Mira Mesa man accused of killing a 92-year-old woman during a burglary at her National City apartment pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a murder charge that could lead to the death penalty.
Peter Thao, 26, was arrested last week in connection with the death of Maria Rivera, whose body was found by her daughter at their rental residence in the 1100 block of D Avenue shortly before 6 a.m. on Oct. 22.
Police wouldn’t say what led them to identify Thao as Rivera’s alleged killer.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has yet to decide whether Thao will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted of murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during a burglary.
He was ordered held without bail.
A readiness conference was scheduled Jan. 12 and a preliminary hearing set for March 14 at the South Bay Courthouse.
–City News Service
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