Man accused of Sabre Springs murders ordered held without bail - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused of Sabre Springs murders ordered held without bail

Posted: Updated:
Melchor Fonseca Marabante, 41, was ordered held without bail in the deaths last Sunday of his 23-year-old wife Valerie and her colleague and friend, 26-year-old Bernabe Villamar. Melchor Fonseca Marabante, 41, was ordered held without bail in the deaths last Sunday of his 23-year-old wife Valerie and her colleague and friend, 26-year-old Bernabe Villamar.
Valerie Marabante worked as a registered nurse at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa, and Villamar was a licensed vocational nurse at the prison. Valerie Marabante worked as a registered nurse at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa, and Villamar was a licensed vocational nurse at the prison.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man accused of shooting his way into a Sabre Springs condominium and gunning down his estranged wife and one of her co-workers pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges that could lead to the death penalty if he's convicted.

Melchor Fonseca Marabante, 41, was ordered held without bail in the deaths last Sunday of his 23-year-old wife Valerie and her colleague and friend, 26-year-old Bernabe Villamar.

Valerie Marabante worked as a registered nurse at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa, and Villamar was a licensed vocational nurse at the prison.

The defendant is also a registered nurse, but it was not clear where he worked. A prosecutor from the state Attorney General's Office filed a motion to suspend his nursing license, but Judge David Szumowski said that issue would be decided on the day of Marabante's preliminary hearing.  

The Marabantes had been together about five years and married in April 2009, said Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio.

She said the defendant had moved out of the condominium before Valentine's Day and was living with family members in Murrieta, and the couple was preparing to file for divorce.

Di Tillio told reporters that the defendant arrived at the condo - it's not clear exactly when - and was watching the victims from the outside before committing the murders.

"He did shoot his way into the house and executed both the victims at very close range with a 9 millimeter weapon," the prosecutor said.

"There is some evidence that he used his 9 millimeter to shoot through the glass patio door, and then stormed into the residence, shooting Bernabe, the first victim, twice, and then chasing Valerie down and shooting her ... hitting her once, shooting at her twice."

Neighbors reported hearing gunfire about 3 a.m. and called police, but responding officers couldn't find the source. The victims' bodies were found about 8:15 a.m. when officers were sent back to the condo, police said.

Di Tillio said the defendant fled the scene and was arrested at a hospital in Murrieta, where he was taken by family members.

The prosecutor said the victims' family members - who didn't know each other before the killings - are taking the news hard.

"As can be expected, they are completely devastated by this," Di Tillio said. "Both the families were very close to the victims in this case. They're distraught beyond what we can comprehend."

Di Tillio said immigration investigators are looking into Marabante's citizenship status.

Marabante is charged with two counts of murder and special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murder.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide after a preliminary hearing whether the defendant will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.

A status conference was set for March 7.

 

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier CBS 8 story, please read below.


SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Arraignment is scheduled Thursday for a man accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife and another man in the Sabre Springs condominium he and his wife once shared.

Melchor Fonseca Marabante, 41, is accused of breaking into the residence and shooting his estranged wife, 23-year-old Valerie Marabante in the head and shooting 26-year-old Bernabe Villamar in the head and neck.

Both victims worked at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa, she as a registered nurse and he as a licensed vocational nurse.

Authorities said the Marabantes had moved into the condo on Evening Creek Drive last month, but the defendant moved out before Valentine's Day.

Neighbors reported hearing gunfire about 3 a.m. last Sunday and called police, but responding officers couldn't find the source, according to authorities.

The bodies were found about 8:15 a.m. when officers were sent back to the condo to check on the victims, police said. The glass patio door of the condo had been smashed, police said.

The defendant was arrested later at a hospital in Murrieta and booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of murder.

According to state records, Melchor Marabante worked as a supervising nurse for the state Department of Corrections, but it wasn't clear exactly where he worked.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.