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A San Diego-area man accused of killing his stepmother and brother in early December allegedly did so to prevent them from testifying against him in another case, prosecutors say.
Marco Antonio “Marky” Valadez Jr., 47, pleaded not guilty in Chula Vista Superior Court on Monday to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Raquel Pitsenberger, 55, and Marco Antonio “Tony” Valadez Jr., 36, as well as felony assault while trying to commit sexual assault, felony forced oral copulation with a minor over the age of 14 and felony sexual battery, according to jail records and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Pitsenberger was defendant "Marky" Valadez's stepmother; "Tony" Valdez was his half-brother and Pitsenberger's son.
According to a press release from the San Diego County Prosecutor's Office, the murder charges "carry the special circumstances of killing a witness, multiple homicides and allegations of personal discharge of a firearm causing death and committing the offense while out on bail." The sexual assault charges "carry 'one strike' and 'habitual sex offender' allegations for [Marky] Valadez’s prior conviction for forcible rape in 1998." The special circumstances allegations with the murder charge make him eligible for the death penalty.
San Diego Sheriff's officers responded to a 911 call at 4:20 p.m. on Dec. 4 in Imperial Beach — just south of the San Diego City limits and about five miles from the border crossing at San Ysidro — for a reported shooting, according to a press release. When they arrived, Pitsenberger was already dead and the younger Valadez brother was critically injured. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The suspect had reportedly fled.
Pitsenberger and the Tony Valadez, both residents of the city San Diego, were visiting a relative's home at the time of the shooting, according to the Union-Tribune. Prosecutors said that Marky Valadez shot Pitsenberger and Tony Valadez in the middle of a confrontation by family members over the alleged sexual assault he'd committed on Dec. 2 against a teenage family member.
Marky Valadez, prosecutors say, was trying to silence potential witnesses against him in any sexual assault case.
Both Pitsenberger and Valdez died of multiple gun shot wounds, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Marky Valdez was ultimately arrested by Mexican authorities working with the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force on Dec. 16, the Sheriff's Office said, and he was turned over to task force members at the San Ysidro border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana.
He was booked into the San Diego County Jail around 9:00 p.m. on Dec. 16, according to jail records.
During his Monday arraignment, Valadez was denied bail. He is due back in court on March 28.
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