SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Miramar-based Marine pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder for strangling his 19-year-old stripper bride of two months while she slept in their Mira Mesa apartment.
Lance Cpl. Patrick Thomas Poteat, a 22-year-old electronics technician, killed Kalyn O'Barr-Poteat Jan. 5 and then tried to slit his wrists but was unsuccessful. After leaving a confession on the refrigerator, he fled to Joshua Tree, where he was arrested.
He is expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Nov. 10.
"He said he murdered his wife by strangulation," San Diego police Detective Mike Holden told prosecutor Dan Link during an April 28 preliminary hearing.
He testified that Poteat told investigators he strangled his wife with an electrical cord while she was in bed, and that she woke up and said, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe," but he continued the attack.
During cross examination, Holden told Deputy Public Defender Michael Ruiz that Poteat cried during the police interrogation.
"He said he never should have done that," Holden testified. "He didn't know why he did it. Then he said he murdered her."
Poteat told investigators that while he was in Georgia for Christmas, his wife sent him text messages saying she was going to leave him, Holden testified.
Poteat said he wasn't jealous of his wife but didn't like what she did for a living, the detective said.
The young woman worked as a nude dancer at Goldfingers Gentlemen's Club under the name "Darla."
Marine Cpl. Kody Fletcher said Poteat told him he was having "issues" with his wife, and that he referred Poteat to a staff sergeant so he could get counseling.
Fletcher said he got a text from Poteat Jan. 4 saying he was stuck in Dallas, and that he got another text from Poteat the next morning, saying, "I just want to give everyone one last goodbye."
After contacting his supervisor, Fletcher said he got another text from Poteat that read, "Please call 911. The door is locked. They need to kick it in. She is on the bed."
Fletcher said Poteat was a good Marine with a great work ethic, and that he never displayed anger or mentioned anything about his wife cheating on him.
When authorities got into the Hillery Drive apartment, they found the woman dead with scratches on her neck. An autopsy determined she had been strangled
Police also found a signed note from the defendant on the refrigerator admitting to the crime, Link said.
According to published reports, the victim had called her mother in Georgia and said she was growing afraid of her new husband's temper.
A transient was behind bars Tuesday on suspicion of fatally stabbing two other homeless men last week at an Otay Mesa strip mall.
San Diego County emergency and fire officials are urging residents to protect homes against devastating wildfires as fire season kicks into full gear.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday to celebrate the opening of a joint-use park at McKinley Elementary.
A vote is expected Tuesday as the Del Mar Fair Board considers transforming the Surf Side Race Place into a new indoor entertainment venue.
The San Diego City Council Tuesday formally approved a $225,000 settlement in litigation brought by a deputy city attorney, who alleged sexual harassment by her former supervisor.
The Gate Fire, which has burned about 2,056 acres northwest of Dulzura, was 95 percent contained Monday. Cal Fire also reported that all evacuation orders and warnings were lifted in the fire area.
The Gate Fire northwest of Dulzura has been fully contained. Cal Fire says its crews will remain on scene Tuesday mopping up and guarding against flareups.
The North County Transit District (NCTD) has voted to lay off its enforcement officers that patrol local train and bus stations.