After two days of deliberations by the defense and prosecution, the man accused of killing CSUN student Abdullah Alkadi will be arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court in San Fernando, setting the stage for the case to go to trial.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David B. Gelfound denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the case against Long Beach resident Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, who is accused of killing Alkadi in September 2014 after the electrical engineering student posted his Audi S5 for sale on Craigslist.
Prosecutors allege Fernandez posed as a buyer and was attempting to keep the car and sale money.
Evidence presented during the two days of deliberations included testimony by a Riverside County Coroner pathologist, a Los Angeles Police Department detective, and family members and acquaintances who were with the defendant on the night of Alkadi’s death.
According to the coroner, Alkadi’s body showed numerous stab wounds to the chest and ribs. The angle of the wounds were consistent with Alkadi being attacked in a seated position. The coroner’s findings match statements Fernandez gave to police that he allegedly attacked Alkadi while taking the Audi on a test drive on Sept. 17, 2014.
Fernandez, in interviews with LAPD detectives, admitted to killing Alkadi and placing his body in shrubbery alongside the 10 Freeway in Palm Springs.
Family and acquaintances who were with Fernandez were granted immunity against prosecution in exchange for their testimony about what happened the night of Alkadi’s death.
They painted a picture to the defense and prosecution of the events that took place the night of Alkadi’s death.
Witness Leonardo Araiza, a Garden Grove resident and cousin of Fernandez, said on the stand that he did not know that Fernandez was going to purchase a car “until he showed it to me,” Araiza said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter.
“He told me that the car had been stolen and that a person had been killed, but that it was a joke,” Araiza said. “Then he showed me the car.”
Fernandez arrived at his cousin’s house with the Audi around midnight or 1 a.m. on Sept. 18, Araiza said. In later conversations Fernandez had with his cousin, the defendant told Araiza that he had killed someone, stolen an Audi and “didn’t know what to do,” Araiza said.
At first, Araiza didn’t notice anything unusual about Fernandez. Later, Araiza noticed that Fernandez had a cut on his hand; however, Araiza did not remember which hand had the cut.
When Araiza went to look inside he also saw drops of blood inside the Audi on the stick shift and passenger side dashboard.
Witness Jose Librado Molina, the brother of Fernandez’s girlfriend, Maria Christina Molina, gave the defendant a ride to the location where he was going to meet Alkadi to buy the Audi near the student’s home.
At the time of Alkadi’s death, Jose Molina lived in apartments next to Fernandez in Long Beach.
In an interview with the Sundial outside of court, Jose Molina said that Fernandez appeared calm the night he gave him a ride.
“I don’t know if he [Fernandez] is innocent or not,” Jose Molina said in Spanish. “All I did was give him a ride. Then I returned home.”
During her testimony, Maria Molina told the court that Fernandez used about $27,000 in cash she had won from a workers compensation settlement and about $7,000 of his own money to purchase the Audi.
The money was kept hidden in a jacket sleeve inside her closet. Fernandez took the workers compensation money without her permission. At the time of Alkadi’s death, Maria Molina and Fernandez lived together in an apartment in Long Beach.
According to Maria Molina’s testimony, she and Fernandez, in the weeks prior to Alkadi’s death, were discussing what to do with the money. Fernandez wanted to buy a car, Ms. Molina said, and was looking at cars on Craigslist. But, Maria Molina added, she to wanted to buy a house with the money.
Fernandez is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 18.