LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two young men were ordered Monday to stand trial for the stabbing death of a 21-year-old UCLA student whose body was discovered after a fire at her Westwood apartment last year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Mark Zuckman found sufficient evidence after a three-day hearing to require Alberto Hinojosa Medina and Eric Marquez, both 22, to stand trial on a murder charge stemming from the Sept. 21 death of Andrea DelVesco, according to Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila.
The two are also charged with two counts of first-degree burglary with a person present involving DelVesco’s apartment and another apartment in the same block.
Medina is facing a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a burglary. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Medina, who faces an allegation that he personally used a knife in the commission of the crime.
Medina is also charged with one felony count each of arson of an inhabited structure or property and cruelty to an animal involving DelVesco’s Chihuahua-terrier mix, who was euthanized as a result of his injuries from the fire, according to the prosecutor.
Defense attorneys unsuccessfully asked the court commissioner to dismiss the charges against their clients.
Medina’s attorney, Dmitry Gorin, said after the hearing that his client has denied being involved in the killing and that there is no direct evidence that Medina was in DelVesco’s house at the time she was killed.
Medina and Marquez — who were arrested in late September — remain jailed and are due back in court March 28 for arraignment at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles.
DelVesco’s body was found inside her apartment by firefighters.
The 21-year-old Austin, Texas, woman — a member of the Pi Beta Phi — was entering her fourth year at UCLA studying psychology and Spanish.
The two men were linked to DelVesco’s death through forensic evidence collected at the scene of the Sept. 21 fire in the 10900 block of Roebling Street, as well as witness statements, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Medina was arrested in Fresno, and Marquez was taken into custody near his apartment in Westwood, according to police.
At the time, Marquez was a fifth-year undergraduate student at UCLA, majoring in biology, according to UCLA. Medina was a Fresno State University student at the time, according to media reports.
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