A Lake Forest man accused of beating his ex-wife with a tire iron was charged with murder after the woman later died as a result of the alleged attack.
The 45-year-old Omar Velazquezhuar was initially charged with attempted murder following the attack on 48-year-old Dora Maria Rosas Moreno on February 26. However, after Moreno’s death on March 17, the prosecution aggravated the charges.
Prosecutors allege Velazquezhuar repeatedly hit Moreno in the head with a tire iron after starting her job as a nanny in Irvine.
Moreno, a Santa Ana resident, spent several weeks in critical condition before succumbing to her injuries, according to Orange County prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Velazquezhuar fled before officers arrived but was later captured and arrested by Irvine police.
The authorities have not identified a motive for the alleged attack. According to the DA office, the estranged couple had two grown children together.
Along with the murder charge, Velazquezhuar faces an improvement in his sentence for lying in wait. That makes him eligible for the death penalty should prosecutors choose to prosecute them.
“Our hearts go out to Ms. Moreno’s family members who grapple with the loss of a mother, friend and caregiver,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a written statement. “This is an indescribable act of violence that has cost an innocent woman the life. While the heartache and pain caused by this corrupt act will never go away, we will see to it that justice is carried out. “
Velazquezhuar, who has not yet filed an appeal, is due to appear in court on April 16 to bring charges. He is being held without bail.