San Diego Superior Court Judge Fred Link ordered Matthew Scott Sullivan, 34, to trial in the murder of Elizabeth Sullivan, 32, following a 2-day preliminary hearing.
"This is going to be a very interesting trial," said Link. "The attic is the telltale piece."
Link said the victim's blood was found in the attic of the couple's home on Truxtun Road along with the knife that killed her. Her blood was found on the knife as well as Matthew Sullivan's blood as well, said Link.
A missing person's report was filed two days after she vanished October 2014. Her last cellphone activity was on Oct. 13, 2014, said San Diego Police detective James Hunter, who went to the couple's home.
Matthew Sullivan told Hunter he and his wife had an argument and she left and he did not know where she was. Hunter said he checked the garage and bedroom, saying "as the relationship was deteriorating, they slept in separate rooms."
Hunter noted he did not check the attic, but did find she was not at a hotel in Point Loma where she sometimes stayed.
Ramon Ceballos, a deputy U.S. Marshall, was walking his dog at Liberty Station on Oct. 6, 2016, when he noticed a body on the shoreline in the 2600 block of Farragut Road.
"I found a body on the shoreline. It was low tide," said Ceballos. "Usually the water is higher."
Dr. Othon Mena, a former deputy medical examiner for San Diego County, testified he supervised the autopsy and concluded Elizabeth Wilson had been stabbed to death.
Mena said her body was in advanced decomposition and it weighed 60 pounds including her clothes. She had not been in the water for two years, and it appeared to been placed on her side for a long time, said Mena. Her identity was confirmed with dental records.
The finding of the body was just two days after Matthew Sullivan and his children moved to Delaware. Movers had emptied the house, and police later searched the attic.
Detective Kim Collier testified a cadaver dog reacted to an area in the garage, where there were an empty refrigerator and freezer that were plugged in even though there was nothing in them.
In response to questions from Deputy District Attorney Jill Lindberg, Collier said Matthew Sullivan purchased carpet cleaner the day after his wife vanished and he closed his wife's e-mail account later that month.
Matthew Sullivan, a six-year veteran, was honorably discharged from the Navy. He was arrested Jan. 31, 2018 in Wyoming, Del., and charged with murder.
Link ordered Sullivan to return to court March 4 to schedule a trial date. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $2 million bail.
His attorney, Marcus DeBose, told reporters afterwards "there are other potential suspects," such as men his wife met on an online dating websites. DeBose said his client had not made any type of confession.