The two-day preliminary hearing resulted in Daniel Chase McKibben, 39, being held to answer for the May 1, 2019, slaying of Heidi Green, 59.
If McKibben is convicted of first-degree murder with the special circumstance charges, he would face either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Deputy District Attorney Kristie Nikoletich told San Diego Superior Court Judge Theordore Weathers the torture charge is based on the victim being stabbed 45 times in the face, neck, and head. She said one stab wound punctured the brain.
“The defendant is very angry with his mother,” said Nikoletich, adding the stabbings were done “for the purpose of revenge.”
“He had everything handed to him,” said Nikoletich, adding that his mother helped him in paying for his truck and allowed him to live in an Ocean Beach condominium she owned.
McKibben’s attorney, Damian Lowe, disputed that he robbed his mother. “He didn’t need anything more,” said Lowe, adding that she paid off his credit cards, and truck payments.
“This is a very sad and tragic case,” said Lowe. “No one ever said he stole from them.”
The first witness was the defendant’s brother, Adam McKibben, who drove down to San Diego after not hearing from his mother. He testified he talked with his brother, who claimed he didn’t know where she was.
Adam McKibben said his brother “took off running” when he showed up at a home in the 5000 block of Niagara Avenue and opened the garage door.
The brother testified he found his mother’s remains in a trash can in the garage. She was wrapped in a blanket. He said he called 911.
Adam McKibben told his brother’s attorney his brother has bipolar disorder and he has had manic episodes in which he was homeless at times.
San Diego Police detective Tracey Guaderrama testified the victim’s ring, valued at $40,000, was missing along with some earrings and a bracelet.
Guaderrama said she found a “to do list” believed written by the defendant in which he wanted to get a passport and have enough cash for travel.
Guaderrama said after Daniel McKibben fled with a friend to La Mesa, he learned from online records that he was wanted for murder. She said he altered his appearance by shaving part of his head.
The detective told Lowe she learned the defendant had a manic episode some years ago when he was traveling in London, and his mother flew there to get him home. She said Daniel McKibben sometimes appears delusional, according to his family.
Dr. Vivian Snyder, a forensic pathologist, testified she visited the scene where the victim’s body was found in a city trash container in the garage.
Snyder told Weathers she could not rule out strangulation as some of the injuries were consistent with strangulation. She said the official cause of death was multiple stab wounds with head and neck trauma.
Elliott Shaffer, a DA investigator, testified he interviewed witnesses who said Daniel McKibben complained his mother “wanted to control his life.”
One witness told Shaffer the defendant was “talking a mile a minute” and talked about fleeing to Mexico. Shaffer said $12,000 was withdrawn from his mother’s bank account and placed in McKibben’s bank account.
Police Sgt. Georffrrey Decesari said the victim’s Apple watch was recovered at an Ocean Beach Starbucks that McKibben had visited.
The final witness was La Mesa Police officer Brian Jacoby who encountered McKibben in a home on May 2 and was refusing to leave.
McKibben went with a friend to a home in La Mesa, but his friend left and the friend’s father called police because McKibben would not leave.
McKibben told Jacoby and another officer he was armed and begged them to shoot him. “Let me die!” said McKibben, according to Jacoby who said he then pulled a knife.
“Shoot me in the heart!” yelled McKibben while waving a knife, said Jacoby.
Jacoby testified his partner shot him twice in the shoulder and hand. McKibben was rushed to a hospital where he was arraigned days later in a hospital bed.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains in the central jail downtown. He will return to court on April 12 to schedule a trial date.