A San Diego man was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday after strangling his wife of nine-years and driving her body to police headquarters after keeping the body in his trunk for two days, Sand Diego The CW 6 reports.
On September 21, 2013, 46-year-old Americus De Orenday – a licensed vocational nurse – arrived at his wife’s apartment to drop off their three children. As the children went inside, he asked to speak with his wife Mirella Orenday, according to Times of San Diego.
The two had been separated for a few months at the time and the defendant had even taken out a restraining order against his wife, which ultimately led to Orenday getting custody of their three children: 8-year-old girl and 7-year-old twins.
Apparently, Orenday wanted to speak to her – the topic is unknown. However, when he learned of her new 18-year-old boyfriend who had recently proposed, he snapped.
When he was able to get the victim closer to his truck, he strangled her to death and threw her bloodied body in the back of his vehicle, leaving her there for two days.
The victim’s 17-year-old daughter – from a previous relationship – stated that the victim and Orenday argued often throughout their marriage. She said they mostly argued about money and how to raise the children as they both had different views.
When she went outside to check on her mother, she became concerned when she was unable to locate her or the defendant – she immediately called the police.
On September 23, 2013, Orenday decided to turn himself into the police after trying to commit suicide on two occasions. He first slit his wrist, and then tried using carbon monoxide to poison himself, his defense attorney Liz Suwczinsky stated.
Once at downtown headquarters, he flagged down two detectives that was approaching the building and informed them that his wife’s body was inside his Ford F-150 pick-up truck.
A medical examiner was called to take the body just after 1:30 a.m. when Orenday arrived.
The defendant claims the violent act wasn’t premeditated, but the prosecutor told the jury that Orenday had asked his children, “How would you feel if I killed mommy” some time before the murder.
The defense attorney suggested that her defendant Orenday should be charged with voluntary manslaughter. But the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and Superior Court Judge Amalia Meza scheduled his sentencing on February 20.
He may be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
[Image via UT San Diego]