A California man has killed his stepmother and half-brother allegedly to keep them from bearing witness to his sex crimes.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office is reporting that they have charged Marco Antonio Valadez with two counts of murder and sexual assault. The District Attorney’s Office alleges he fatally shot his 55-year-old stepmother, Raquel Pitsenburger, and his half-brother, 36-year-old Marco Antonio Valadez Jr. because he was “trying to silence family members who were potential witnesses following the disclosure of his sex crimes.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Valadez, the suspect goes by the name “Marky,” while Valadez, the murder victim, was known as “Tony.”
According to the District Attorney’s Office statement, Valadez allegedly sexually assaulted an unnamed 18-year-old family member two days before Valadez Jr. and Pitsenburger were killed. The charges against him also reportedly carry “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.”
Valadez is a repeat sex offender. He was reportedly convicted of forcible rape in 1998 and has been convicted on other charges. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the sex abuse charges against him include assault while trying to commit a sex offense, committing a forced sex act, and sexual battery by restraint.
He reportedly fled to Mexico following the deaths of his family members but was arrested and extradited back to San Diego on Dec. 16.
The District Attorney’s Office says the special circumstances will make him eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.
Valadez reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held without bail.