Americus De Orenday pleads not guilty in death of estranged wife Mirella De Orenday
Police: Husband brought body to downtown HQ
Last Updated: 69 days ago
SAN DIEGO - A Bay Terraces man whose estranged wife's body was found in his truck outside downtown San Diego police headquarters pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Thursday.
Americus Jules De Orenday, 44, was ordered held on $1 million bail by San Diego Superior Court Judge David Szumowski.
"He was the last person seen with the victim when she was alive," Deputy District Attorney Leonard Trinh said.
The prosecutor said the chain of events that led to the discovery of Mirella De Orenday's body about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday began Saturday night, when he brought the couple's three children to her residence.
Mirella, 40, came out to talk to him, and she wasn't seen again, according to Trinh.
The woman's 17-year-old daughter from a previous relationship called police later that night to say her mother was missing and contacted authorities again the next day. Police took a missing persons report but couldn't find the two, Trinh said.
According to the prosecutor, they were married in 2004 and separated earlier this year. Americus De Orenday took out a restraining order on Mirella and won custody of their children, he said.
He said Americus de Orenday used their kids to manipulate Mirella.
"He made her make out with him and have sex with him," Trinh said.
The prosecutor said De Orenday was seen entering a Wal-Mart in National City about 8 p.m. Monday, where he purchased a garden hose.
About five hours later, he showed up at police headquarters at 14th Street and Broadway and flagged down officers, and her body was found in the floorboard area of his Ford F150, Trinh said. An autopsy determined that the woman had been strangled.
The hose was extending out of the exhaust pipe of De Orenday's vehicle into a back window of the cab, leading police to believe the suspect might have planned to commit suicide before changing his mind.
Trinh said the defendant was upset that Mirella was dating someone else. A woman who lives near De Orenday's Alta View Drive apartment told reporters he sometimes would "get crazy" toward his wife out of jealousy over other men.
The judge scheduled a status conference for Oct. 3. The defendant faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
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