Leopoldo Pacuan pleads not guilty in death of co-worker Raquel Morales

SAN DIEGO - A man accused in the robbery-motivated killing of a 63-year-old female co-worker at their Mira Mesa office pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.

Leopoldo Pacuan, 48, was ordered held on $1 million bail.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund told Judge David Szumowski that Pacuan was not working the night he went to LBC Express and allegedly tried to rob Raquel Morales.

When Morales resisted, Pacuan stabbed her eight times -- including two stab wounds to the heart -- and left her for dead, the prosecutor alleged.

Officers found Morales at the LBC Express business office in the 8900 block of Mira Mesa Boulevard just before 2 a.m. on May 18, after her husband called police and asked someone to check on his wife because she had failed to return home from the cargo and courier service business as usual.

Pacuan allegedly took the victim's wedding ring and other personal items before fleeing.

The defendant, who was arrested at his home in San Diego on May 22, faces 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.

A status conference is scheduled June 6 and a preliminary hearing for June 12.

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