Hearing Rescheduled For Man Accused Of Killing Pregnant Wife

Jesus Arteaga Garcia Accused Of Killing US Customs Agent Maribel Arteaga

A preliminary hearing was rescheduled Monday to Feb. 29 for a man accused of fatally stabbing his pregnant estranged wife, who was a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent.

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Jesus Arteaga Garcia, 30, is charged with two counts of murder for the Dec. 9, 2009, slaying of Maribel Arteaga and her fetus in Chula Vista. He also faces child abuse counts because the killing took place in front of the victim's 4- and 6-year-old children.

A motive for the crime was not known.

The defendant fled to Mexico after the killing but was extradited to the United States in July.

Garcia also faces special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murders, which makes him eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. In order to ensure the defendant's extradition, authorities in the United States had to agree not to seek the death penalty, said Deputy District Attorney Enrique Camarena.

Maribel Arteaga, who was two months pregnant, identified her estranged husband as the assailant before she died, and witnesses told authorities that he frequented Mexico and had family there, the prosecutor said.

Arteaga Garcia was sheltered by his sister and parents in Northern Baja California until his arrest in Tijuana, authorities said.

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