CHULA VISTA —
A man accused of gunning down his half brother and stepmother in Imperial Beach last month wanted to silence them as potential witnesses after a family member made allegations of sexual assault, the District Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Marco Antonio “Marky” Valadez Jr. pleaded not guilty in Chula Vista Superior Court on Monday to five charges, including murder, in the Dec. 4 slayings of Raquel Pitsenberger, 55, and Marco Antonio “Tony” Valadez Jr., 36.
Valadez, 47, and his younger half brother share the same name, but the defendant goes by “Marky” and the victim was known as “Tony.”
Authorities allege that after the shooting, Marky Valadez fled to Mexico, where he was arrested Dec. 16. A U.S. citizen, he was handed over to U.S. authorities that day.
In filing murder charges, prosecutors added special-circumstance allegations accusing Valadez of killing a witness, killing multiple people and using a gun.
The special allegations mean the case carries a potential death penalty for Valadez, if convicted. District Attorney Summer Stephan usually waits until after a preliminary hearing has been held in a case before deciding whether to pursue the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Aside from murder, Valadez is accused of assault while trying to commit a sex offense, committing a forced sex act, and sexual battery by restraint.
In a news release Monday, the District Attorney’s Office said the sex offenses happened Dec. 2, and the victim was an 18-year-old family member.
Pitsenberger and her son Tony Valadez were killed two days later, on the afternoon of Dec. 4. The District Attorney’s Office said they were shot during a confrontation in which Marky Valadez “was trying to silence family members who were potential witnesses following the disclosure of his sex crimes.”
The victims lived in San Diego but were shot while at the Imperial Beach home of a family member. Pitsenberger died at the home. Her son died soon after at a hospital.
According to the criminal complaint, the December slayings and alleged sexual assault occurred while the defendant was out on bail in another case.
The complaint also lists prior convictions for several offenses, including a 1996 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Valadez is also a registered sex offender who was convicted of rape in 1998 and sent to prison.
At the arraignment Monday, Judge Garry Haehnle ordered Marky Valadez held jailed without bail. The defendant is due back in court March 28.
Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com