Murder Suspect Faces Prelim. Hearing in March

Judge David Szumowski scheduled set the date of Julio Angel Garcia-Puente’s preliminary hearing at a status conference last Monday, Nov. 22.  The hearing will determine whether probable cause exists for the homicide. If there is enough evidence, the criminal case will proceed to trial, unless the suspect enters a plea beforehand.

Fifty-year-old Garcia-Puente — who pleaded not guilty on Nov. 12 to murder and arson charges — is the estranged husband of 38-year-old Gonzalez, who was killed on Oct. 30. Her destroyed vehicle was found in the parking lot next to UCSD’s baseball field.

Prosecutors, which include Deputy District Attorney Nicole Cooper, said the defendant could face 26 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

According to LaJollaPatch.com, the reason for delaying the preliminary hearing until March was not available because substitute lawyers appeared on the plaintiff and the defendant’s side.

Additionally, NBC San Diego reported that about 200 people attended Gonzalez’s memorial at Templo Cristiano Alpha y Omega Church in San Marcos. The church’s pastor, Jose De Jesus Lopez, said he had spoken to Gonzalez about her marital problems in the past.

Gonzalez is survived by family in El Salvador. The date of her funeral service has not been announced.

Readers can contact Regina Ip at [email protected].

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