A man accused of fatally stabbing a 74-year-old woman and sexually assaulting another woman after breaking into their Del Cerro home must stand trial on murder allegations, a judge ruled Friday.
Eduardo Torres, 21, is charged with murder and special allegations of murder during a rape, oral copulation, burglary and murder that involved torture in connection with the attack last June. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
San Diego police Sgt. Eric Seiter — a SWAT supervisor — said he arrived at the home in the 5600 block of Mill Peak Road after midnight last June 13. He said other officers told him that a man was holed up in the residence with two women.
“We planned to get the females out,” the sergeant testified during the defendant’s two-day preliminary hearing.
A number of officers entered the house and a K-9 officer can be heard on the video from a body-worn camera telling the suspect to come out, warning that a police dog “will bite you.”
Another officer heard Torres say, “Get out of here. I have a knife. I have a gun. I’m gonna kill ’em,” Seiter testified.
Seiter said he and other officers decided to break into a small bedroom where Torres was allegedly holding the women hostage. When the officers entered the room, Torres had a knife and made a motion with his hand and was immediately taken into custody, Seiter said.
The officer said he noticed blood coming from the neck of 74-year-old Ut Nguyen and immediately applied pressure to the injury until paramedics arrived.
Deputy Medical Examiner Othon Mena testified that the stab wound to the left side of Nguyen’s neck nearly severed a carotid artery and proved fatal.
When the preliminary hearing began last month, the 50-year-old sexual assault victim testified that she was sleeping with her boyfriend — Nguyen’s son — the night of the crime when she heard a loud noise that sounded like someone smashing a glass window.
The woman said her boyfriend went downstairs and was arguing with the defendant when his mother emerged from a bedroom. The victim said she went into a bedroom and locked the door because she was scared, but opened it because she thought the intruder was going to break it down. She said Torres pushed her and Nguyen into the bedroom and locked the door.
Nguyen was saying, “Please let me go, I’m old,” the witness testified.
She testified she was pushed down onto the bed by the suspect and ordered to perform a sex act on him at knifepoint. She said she knew what he wanted her to do, but tried to delay because she thought her boyfriend — who was forced outside — had called the police.
She said Torres became angry when she was slow to perform the act he had demanded.
“I was afraid he would hurt me or he would kill me,” she said, adding that she was stabbed in one arm and cut on the other. “He was very forceful and very demanding.”
Superior Court Judge David Rubin ruled that enough evidence was presented for Torres to stand trial.
His arraignment was scheduled for March 22. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has yet to decide whether Torres, who also faces charges of forcible oral copulation, assault during a burglary and torture, would face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.
— City News Service
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