The criminal case against an ex-con accused of stabbing a vacationer as she walked to her car in the parking lot of an Oceanside shopping center was upgraded today to capital murder, meaning he could face the death penalty if convicted.
Eric Russell Andreasen, 37, was initially charged and arraigned on a murder charge for the April 3 slaying of 54-year-old Katherine Parker. Prosecutors amended the charge today to include a special circumstance allegation of murder during a robbery.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later whether to actually seek the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Andreasen, who has a history of mental illness, remains jailed without bail. He pleaded not guilty to murder and the special circumstance allegation and had his trial set for June 23. A readiness conference was set for June 2.
The victim -- from the town of Lincoln, near Sacramento -- was visiting family in North County when she was stabbed repeatedly in the face, neck and stomach in the parking lot of the El Camino North Shopping Center.
Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai said Andreasen pleaded guilty to attempted grand theft in 2005 and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
According to court records, Andreasen also spent time at Patton State Hospital and has a robbery conviction from 1991.
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