Judge: Murder charges against Mira Mesa man stand - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Judge: Murder charges against Mira Mesa man stand

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A judge refused Friday to dismiss murder charges against a Mira Mesa man who claims his wife was fatally injured when she fell down stairs in their home.

David Patrick Ditto, 44, is charged in the March 14 death of 38-year-old Karina Ditto.

Judge Kenneth So refused a defense motion to throw out the murder charge against Ditto, whose trial is set for Sept. 14.

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

At a preliminary hearing in May, 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.

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. on 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.

A San Diego paramedic/firefighter, Lisa Challender, testified that 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's two children -- ages 14 and 10 -- were in the home at the time their mother was injured, Ruiz said.

Ditto faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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