Arraignment for 51-year-old Lara Epstein was postponed until Tuesday because the defendant needs a Russian interpreter.
Epstein faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and the use of a deadly weapon.
Officers responding to a request for a welfare check on Svetlana Gurinova at a condominium complex in the 3700 block of Carmel View Road about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday arrived to hear a woman talking and a dog barking inside one of the units.
Unable to get anyone to answer the door, the officers let themselves in and found Epstein standing in the living room, San Diego police Lt. Paul Rorrison said. Epstein led them to Gurinova's body, which bore signs of "massive trauma," including blunt-force and "laceration type" injuries, Rorrison said.
Though calm at the time of her arrest, Epstein at times made "rambling" comments to detectives, the lieutenant told reporters.