Tiffany Nowden pleads not guilty in stabbing death of wife Russina Vale

SAN DIEGO - A woman accused of fatally stabbing her bride in their San Carlos apartment, then going on the run, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a murder charge and was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail.

Tiffany Nowden, 39, was arrested Tuesday on charges stemming from the June 5 death of 38-year-old Russina Vale.

Deputy District Attorney Lindsey Carinci said the couple -- who had an "on-and-off" relationship -- reconnected last November and got married early this year.

Things seemed to be going well until late May, when Vale got into argument with Nowden at the Barona Casino, where the victim worked. Nowden was escorted off the Indian reservation, Carinci said.

The prosecutor said Vale sent an email to family and friends stating that the relationship with Nowden was over and that she was getting a divorce.

The morning of June 5, Vale's co-workers went to her residence on Mission Gorge Road when she failed to show up for work, but did not get an answer when they knocked on the door.

Several hours later, police got a call from a local defense attorney, informing them that they might find a deceased person inside the Mission Gorge Road address.

Officers who made entry into the apartment found a naked Vale dead in her bed. She had been stabbed in the stomach, arm and chest, Carinci said.

A witness placed Nowden at the crime scene about 5:30 a.m. the morning of the murder, the prosecutor said.

A U.S. Marshals Service task force found Nowden at a home in the 2200 block of Market Street in Sherman Heights about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday and arrested her without incident.

Nowden faces 56 years to life in prison if convicted. She will be back in court July 3 for a status conference.

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