A judge is expected to rule tomorrow whether an ex-con accused of raping and killing a 23-year-old Murrieta woman and setting fire to the apartment where her 3-year-old son was sleeping should stand trial.
Marquise Denzell McGlown, 23, of Hemet, could face the death penalty if convicted in the Oct. 31, 2012 slaying of Shanae Christiana Wesley. McGlown is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, rape, auto theft and special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and killing during the commission of a burglary.
The prosecution called its first witnesses today during a preliminary hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton, who will determine if there's sufficient evidence to warrant a trial in the case.
Rushton is slated to make his ruling Friday morning following the completion of testimony.
Meantime, McGlown remains held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to prosecutors, the victim ran into the defendant and his friend, with whom she was acquainted, at a Temecula bar on the night of Oct. 30 and invited them back to her residence at the Waterstone Apartments, 24850 Hancock Ave.
After a while, McGlown and his friend left, going their separate ways, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The defendant allegedly snatched the victim's keys before departing, D.A.'s office spokesman John Hall said.
"He made his way back into the apartment after his friend was gone and is alleged to have then raped and murdered Wesley," Hall said. "McGlown then set a fire in the apartment in an apparent attempt to cover up his crimes and fled the scene by stealing Wesley's car."
A neighbor spotted smoke billowing out of the apartment in the predawn hours and rushed in, rescuing the victim's son, who suffered minor injuries, according to police. Firefighters arrived moments later, extinguished the blaze and found Wesley's badly burned remains.
The boy was briefly hospitalized, then released in good condition to the care of his extended family.
Wesley's 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt was found by investigators two days later in a Hemet parking lot, within walking distance of McGlown's home, authorities said.
The defendant was initially arrested and jailed for parole violations. Murrieta police completed an investigation and submitted their findings to the D.A.'s office a couple of weeks later, resulting in the capital charges.
The defendant has a prior felony conviction for a 2008 burglary, for which he served less than two years in prison.—City News Service
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