She Was Stabbed More than 70 Times

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The man who killed a 14-year-old City Heights girl stabbed her more than 70 times and tried to destroy evidence linking him to the murder, prosecutors said in court Monday.

    Ahlyja Pinson was stabbed to death on New Year's Eve almost three years ago. The man now charged with her murder was actually arrested just days after the killing, but problems with the evidence caused a long delay in this case.

    "My family and I want to thank God, for I always knew this day will come," Ahlyja's mother, Adriana Pinson, said on Monday.

    That day was Monday for the family of Pinson, whose body was found in an abandoned house in Golden Hill.

    Antero Cruz was formally charged with murder on Monday. According to prosecutor Kristen Speiler, Cruz knew Ahlyja and was with her in his apartment less than an hour before the murder. According to a witness, Cruz's then-girlfriend argued with him about Ahlyja and that Ahlyja left the apartment and Cruz followed her.

    The district attorney's office believes that the pair then went to the abandoned house, where Cruz killed her. Speiler would not explain why it took so long to charge Cruz with the crime.

    "What I think is important is that San Diego Police Department Homicide never forgot Ahlyja," Speiler said. "They never gave up on the case."

    "He deserves to spend the rest of his life -- his miserable life -- in prison, to die in prison, so he can never hurt other families, so my beautiful daughter can finally have justice," Pinson's mother said Monday.

    At this time, Cruz does not fact the death penalty, according to prosecutors. But if new evidence is found that makes this a death penalty-eligible case, the DA can amend the complaint and charge it as a death penalty case.