Triple Homicide Suspect Appears in Court

By Laura McVicker
|  Thursday, Jul 10, 2014  |  Updated 11:49 AM PDT
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Triple Homicide Suspect Appears in Court

NBC 7 San Diego

Carlo Mercado, 29, appears in a San Diego courtroom on July 9, 2014.

The man accused of killing three San Diegans on Christmas Eve in a mall parking lot appeared in court on Thursday.

A status conference for Carlo Mercado, 29, was set for Sept. 15 and a preliminary hearing was slated for Oct. 20.

Mercado also was in San Diego Superior Court Wednesday for sentencing on a separate charge of having a gun silencer, but it was reset for Aug. 5.

A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said that case likely won’t be resolved until after the triple homicide case concludes.

Mercado also was appointed a public defender to represent him in the killings – a case that the district attorney has indicated he could seek the death penalty.

In the early hours of Dec. 24, 2013, Ilona Flint and Belvedere Salvatore were gunned down in a parking lot outside a Macy’s department store at Westfield Mission Valley Mall. Flint was shot in the head, but somehow managed to call 911 and report the shooting. She died at the scene.

Salvatore died a few days later from injuries sustained in the shooting.

Gianni Belvedere – Salvatore’s brother and Flint’s longtime boyfriend-turned-fiancé – went missing immediately following the shooting of his loved ones. The San Diego Police Department launched a missing person search for Gianni over the next several weeks.

Finally, on Jan. 17, 2014, Gianni's body was discovered in the trunk of his car in Riverside, Calif., about an hour-and-a-half north of San Diego County. He, too, had been fatally shot, also deemed the victim of a homicide.

Mercado was arrested on June 20 in connection the case that had gone unsolved since Christmas 2013.

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