SAN DIEGO - A preliminary hearing is underway Friday for a man accused of breaking into a Del Cerro home, threatening two women at knifepoint before fatally stabbing one and sexually assaulting the other.
Eduardo Torres, 21, is charged with murder and special circumstance allegations of murder during a rape, murder during oral copulation, murder during a burglary and murder that involved torture.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later whether Torres, who also faces charges of forcible oral copulation, assault during a burglary and torture, will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.
At Torres' arraignment last year, Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio said Torres tried to break into a home about 11 p.m. last June 12 but was chased off by the residents.
Torres allegedly jumped a fence into the next-door neighbor's yard and broke into that home on Mill Peak Road, the prosecutor said.
Ut Nguyen and her son's 50-year-old girlfriend locked themselves in separate bedrooms, and Torres kicked down the door where the older woman was hiding and dragged her down the hall at knifepoint to the bedroom where the other woman was holed up, Di Tillio said.
Torres locked the door behind him, sexually assaulted the 50-year-old woman and fatally stabbed the 74-year-old Nguyen, the prosecutor alleged.
During the ordeal, Torres cut the sexual assault victim in an attempt to get SWAT officers to back off, Di Tillio alleged.
Nguyen's 56-year-old son was locked out of his home during the women's ordeal because he had gone to check on his neighbors, the prosecutor said.
A knife was recovered from the home when Torres was arrested, Di Tillio said.
After the preliminary hearing, a judge will decide whether enough evidence was presented to order Torres to stand trial.