A Fresno man and woman will stand trial for alleged torture and murder, a Superior Court judge decided Tuesday.
The case is bizarre: The defendants allegedly tortured another woman, who herself had been raped by another man. That man was then allegedly killed and buried by the defendants in the basement of a central Fresno home last August.
Judge Arlan Harrell on Tuesday ordered Margaret Alaniz, 23, and Anthony Nunez, 42, to face murder and torture charges in Fresno County Superior Court.
Harrell made his decision after two police detectives testified that the pair killed Oscar Seja inside a home at 2623 E. McKenzie Ave. near Fresno Street and Belmont Avenue on Aug. 21.
Seja, 27, was stabbed 22 times, Detective Antonio Rivera testified.
In addition, Rivera and Detective Ray Villalvazo accused Alaniz of throwing acid on the woman victim's face, tying her up, punching her in the face, hitting her with a beer bottle and putting her in a bedroom closet for several days before she was raped by Seja in a detached garage.
If convicted, Alaniz and Nunez face life in prison.
After Seja was killed, the two defendants, with help from the rape victim, wrapped his body in linen, a shower curtain and blanket before burying him in the basement, Rivera and Villalvazo testified.
The two defendants then let the alleged rape victim go free, the detectives said.
Her account to police led to the arrest of Alaniz and Nunez.
Rivera testified that Alaniz is known as "C Loca" and Nunez's nickname is "Troubles."
In court, the rape victim, about 35 years old, was identified as Jane Doe.
The two detectives said she had gone to the McKenzie Avenue home to talk to Nunez. Inside the residence were several adults and three to four children, Rivera said.
Villalvazo testified that Alaniz, who had been drinking beer, got upset with the woman and began hitting her and cutting her with a sword. She also threw liquid on her that burned her face, he said.
At one point, however, Nunez untied the woman and gave her food and water and ointment for her wounds, the two detectives said. Once Alaniz found out, she got mad at the woman, the detectives said.
The rape victim was later held against her will inside a detached garage, where she was sexually assaulted by Seja, the detectives testified. She later escaped from Seja and told Alaniz and Nunez about the attack, the detectives said.
Seja was then beaten, stabbed to death, and buried, the detectives said.
Alaniz and Nunez, who have prior criminal records, are being held in the Fresno County Jail without bail. Their next court date is March 12.
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