The injuries of a Mira Mesa mother, who prosecutors say died at the hands of her husband, were described as “significant” and “extensive” at an arraignment Tuesday.
David Ditto, 43, began to shake and cry as the prosecutor read off a list of injuries saying they were in direct contrast to defendant's statement that his wife fell down the stairs.
Ditto pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
The defendant called police March 12 saying his wife was hurt after a fall down the stairs at the couple's home in the 7700 block of Canyon Point Lane.
Officers investigating the call said they found what they considered suspicious circumstances and asked the San Diego police homicide unit to look into the case.
Two days later, Karina Ditto, 38, died as a result of her injuries. The medical examiner conducted an autopsy and declared the death a homicide.
Homicide detectives arrested David Ditto outside the couple's home on Thursday, March 17.
Deputy District Attorney Claudine Ruiz said the victim suffered from a lot of bruising, which she says would indicate murder, and there was clear evidence of strangulation.
More than a dozen family members were in the courtroom and were visibly upset on Tuesday.
The prosecutor asked for bail to be set at $5 million. The defense asked for it to be set at $200,000 and the defendant’s father offered up his home to pay the bail.
The judge set bail at $2 million, which prompted a gasp from the defendant’s family. The judge also issued a restraining order for the defendant’s children, aged 10 and 14.
Outside the courtroom, the defense attorney read a statement from the family, which he says includes the feelings of the victim's mother who is here from Mexico.
"We're shocked and extremely disappointed that David and his children are being put through this unnecessary trauma while still trying to come to terms with the loss of their beloved wife and mother," said attorney Keith Rutman.
Ditto is facing 25 years in prison.
A viewing is being held for the victim Tuesday night and the funeral is being held Wednesday.