A 62-year-old Indian-American woman has been sexually assaulted and murdered in a California motel by a US army veteran,who has been charged and couldface the death penalty,a media report said Thursday.
Lalita Patel,who ran her familys motel,the Tracy Hacienda Inn,in Tracy city was found murdered last Saturday.
Stephen Carreiro,who was recently discharged from the Army,was arraigned in San Joaquin Superior Court on charges that he raped and killed Patel at the motel.
Carreiro,25,was naked when he was arrested around after fighting with witnesses and police at the motel,San Jose Mercury News reported.
Prosecutors filed five special-circumstances counts in addition to charges of murder,elder abuse and resisting arrest. Those counts were murder during the commission of a burglary,rape,rape with a foreign object,sodomy and mayhem,according to Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa.
If convicted of murder with special circumstances Carreiro would face either life in prison without parole or execution. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to seek the death penalty,Testa said.
Police said Carreiro also attacked the victims 82-year-old mother but would not give the details of that assault. She is expected to recover from her injuries.
Police would not describe the nature of Carreiros attack on Patel or reveal whether a weapon was used. Tests to determine whether Carreiro was under the influence of any substance will take several weeks,Tracy police Capt John Espinoza said.
Carreiro had moved to Tracy from out of state about a month ago,Testa said,but police were still investigating his personal history.
Espinoza said Carreiro had recently been discharged from the Army,but did not know the details of his service.