Man who claimed fatal fall killed wife ordered to stand trial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man who claimed fatal fall killed wife ordered to stand trial for murder

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Mira Mesa man who said his wife was fatally injured when she fell down stairs in their home must stand trial for murder, a judge ruled Wednesday.

David Patrick Ditto, 43, is charged in the March 14 death of 38-year-old Karina Ditto.

After a three-day preliminary hearing, Judge Laura Parsky ruled there was sufficient evidence to try the defendant.

Deputy District Attorney Claudine Ruiz said the victim was beaten and strangled.

Defense attorney Keith Rutman argued unsuccessfully that Ditto should stand trial on a manslaughter charge, telling the judge that there was evidence of a sudden struggle in the home.

"The evidence is consistent with a quick, sudden struggle," Rutman told the judge.

But Ruiz said the victim had defensive wounds on her hands and shin, and there was a shoe print on her leg, an indication that her husband kicked her.

The defendant also had scratches on his face, the prosecutor said.

Shortly before 1 a.m. March 12, Ditto made an emergency call to report that his spouse had fallen down a flight of stairs in their residence and was badly injured, according to San Diego police Lt. Ernie Herbert.

Medics performed CPR on the woman at the scene, then took her to a hospital, where she was admitted in critical condition. She died of her injuries two days later.

Ruiz said the victim had extensive bruising all over her body, including multiple bruises to her left temple, her face, jaw line, arms and legs.

The injuries were not consistent with the story the defendant gave that his wife fell down 11 carpeted steps, Ruiz said.

San Diego Paramedic/Firefighter Lisa Challender testified during the preliminary hearing that the victim was covered with blood and completely unresponsive when found round the corner from the stairwell in the couple's Mira Mesa home.

"It didn't make sense to me," Challender testified, saying the victim's injuries weren't consistent with a fall.

Challender said the blood on and near the victim's body seemed to be drier than blood would have been if someone called to report a fall right away.

The couple has two children -- ages 14 and 10 -- who were in the home at the time their mother was injured, Ruiz said.

A report that Ditto's father told police that there was marital discord between the victim and the defendant was untrue, Rutman said. He said Ditto's family was close-knit and were supportive of the defendant.

Ditto faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He will be back in court May 20 for arraignment and to get a trial date.



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