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Ventura County

Trial Ordered for Man in Wife's Death

Court: He is accused of slashing her throat with a box cutter in their Port Hueneme home.

September 05, 2002|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT and TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

An unemployed Port Hueneme construction worker was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on a murder charge for allegedly using a box cutter to slash his wife's throat as she lay in bed.

Alberto Solis, 41, is accused of killing his 51-year-old wife inside their Bard Road home April 14. Solis told police after his arrest that he and his wife had been having marital problems.

The couple's troubles, according to Solis, involved finances, his struggle with alcohol and their inability to have children. Olga Solis had two miscarriages, according to police.

"Everybody in the world has marital problems but it doesn't come to this," prosecutor Miles Weiss said Wednesday after the preliminary hearing for Solis.

According to Weiss, Solis and his wife awoke about the same time that Sunday and talked in bed briefly before Solis went outside and saw the box cutter.

Solis then reentered the bedroom and attacked her, Weiss said, using the weapon to slice his wife's throat so deeply that her jugular vein was struck.

Afterward, Solis retrieved another knife from the kitchen and returned to the bedroom, where he inflicted superficial stab wounds, according to testimony.

Then, in an apparent suicide attempt, Solis used one of the knives to slash his wrists and consumed a combination of laxatives and rubbing alcohol, according to testimony. He was later treated for minor injuries.

During Wednesday's hearing, Solis, clad in a blue jailhouse uniform, listened to the proceedings with the help of a translator.

The defendant's sister, Maria Gomez, testified she went to the couple's home April 14 and found her brother shaking and acting nervous. Gomez said she also saw blood on her brother's neck.

Gomez's daughter, Lourdes Gomez, had accompanied her mother to the Solis house that day. Gomez testified Wednesday that Solis came out of the house and into the backyard and told her to call the police because her aunt was dead.

Weiss, a senior deputy district attorney, asked Lourdes Gomez if she remembered Solis saying, "I did it. Everybody knew this was coming." Lourdes Gomez said she could not recall her uncle making that remark.

The Gomezes called police, who arrived at the house about 4 p.m. Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Janice Frank testified the exact time of death is unknown but that the victim died during the midday hours.

Port Hueneme Police Officer Paul Gomez, not related to Maria and Lourdes Gomez, also took the stand Wednesday and testified that Solis said during an interview with police after his arrest that he wanted to die.

Officer Gomez also said there was a psychologist present during the interview. The officer said the psychologist asked Solis if he thought he was insane, and that the defendant indicated he was not.

"He was calm ... he kept saying he wanted to die," Officer Gomez testified.

During the police interview, Solis wavered between calmness and tears, Officer Gomez testified. He made statements about his wife trying to kill him so he, in turn, killed her, the officer said.

Olga Solis had been a nine-year employee of Moorpark-based Kavlico Corp., working on an assembly line making automotive sensors. Several of her relatives sat behind the prosecutor in court Wednesday.

Solis, whose criminal record is limited to a drunk-driving conviction, remained jailed Wednesday on $520,000 bail. He will be arraigned Nov. 11 on one count of murder with a special allegation of using a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

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