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Carlsbad : Ricchio to Stand Trial in Slaying of Ex-Boyfriend

March 31, 1988|TOM GORMAN

Linda Ricchio was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for murder in the killing of Ronald Ruse Jr.

Testimony in the Vista Superior Court hearing said Ruse was shot once from the back and once from the side after returning home to his apartment in Carlsbad in December.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Tom Manning said prosecutors will ask that Ricchio, 27, be charged with the special circumstance of lying in wait to kill Ruse, her one-time boyfriend. If Ricchio is charged and convicted of that, Manning said, he will ask that she be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, rather than to death.

If convicted of first-degree murder without the special circumstance, Ricchio would face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Ricchio's defense attorney, Jack Earley, said Wednesday he may try to prove that his client shot Ruse, 28, in self-defense because Ruse may have turned on Ricchio when they confronted each other outside their adjoining apartments. "I'll try to explain as best as possible that they had a history of combative behavior," he said.

That possible defense scenario prompted a response from Ruse's father, Ronald Ruse Sr., outside the courtroom: "It is obvious that Mr. Earley, having no case to rely upon, has decided to impugn the character of the victim, Ronald Ruse Jr., by issuing statements to the media that are blatantly untrue and malicious in intent."

Prosecution witnesses testified during the preliminary hearing that Ricchio was so spiteful toward Ruse after he ended their seven-year relationship that she stalked him and wanted him dead.

Among the witnesses who testified Wednesday, the third day of Ricchio's preliminary hearing, were forensic experts who said there were no smoke or powder burns to indicate that Ruse was shot from a distance of less than two feet.

At one point, while forensic pathologist Dr. Douglas S. Dixon from the San Diego County coroner's office was describing Ruse's wounds, Ricchio broke down in tears and was allowed to sit out his detailed testimony in a back room.

Testimony showed that Ricchio rented an upstairs apartment next to Ruse's just days before the Dec. 14 killing. Carlsbad Police Detective Jim Byler said the apartment had no furniture, but that personal items were found in the kitchen--including a Bible and sealed envelopes addressed to her relatives.

Earley said the envelopes contained what he described as a "suicide note," including instructions on the handling of her personal affairs and belongings.

Ricchio was in custody at the Las Colinas Jail for women in Santee.

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