Preliminary hearing for caregiver accused of murder, theft - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Preliminary hearing for caregiver accused of murder, theft

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A preliminary hearing is scheduled Monday for a woman accused of killing an 89-year-old Rancho Bernardo man and draining his bank accounts of more than $500,000 while serving as his caregiver.

Denise Michelle Goodwin, 45, is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain in the death of Gerald Eugene Rabourn, who disappeared in October 2010. His body has never been found but there is no evidence he is still alive, authorities said.

Goodwin was hired through a senior care service to care for Rabourn's 91-year-old wife, Carolyn, who died of cancer on Sept. 29, 2010. At Goodwin's arraignment last August, the prosecution said Rabourn trusted Goodwin with all his assets, and within days of his wife's death, Goodwin began converting those assets for her own personal use.

Goodwin also allegedly dissuaded family members from contacting police by giving them inconsistent reports regarding Rabourn's whereabouts after his wife's death.

Police said there was an abrupt end to Rabourn's family contacts, cell phone use and financial activity after Oct. 21, 2010. After that date, his signature on a document to sell the family home and title document to transfer his care were forged, according to authorities.

Goodwin was arrested in July 2011 as she boarded a plane for a European vacation.

In addition to murder and the special allegation, she is charged with elder abuse, embezzlement by a trustee, grand theft, forgery and auto theft.

A judge will determine at the end of Monday's preliminary hearing whether there's enough evidence to order Goodwin to stand trial. If convicted, she could face the death penalty or life in prison.

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