A 17-year-old boy accused of killing a woman last month while she was hiking on a trail in Carlsbad denied all allegations during a court hearing Thursday.
The teen – who's also a resident of Carlsbad – was arrested at a local beach on Dec. 14 in connection with the slaying of Lisa Thorborg, 68.
Thursday's hearing was held virtually, with the suspect appearing from San Diego Juvenile Hall, where he had been in custody since his arrest. His court-appointed attorney also appeared via video. His mother and grandmother were present via telephone, as well as the family of the victim. The prosecutors in the case were also present via video.
The teen's attorney said he denies all allegations. She also said the suspect's family had retained a second attorney, Jennifer Goldman, as his defense team.
A judge set the next virtual hearing for the suspect for Dec. 22 at 1:30 p.m. The teenager will remain detained at Juvenile Hall pending further proceedings.
Because he’s a minor, the teen’s name will not be released at this time. An attorney told NBC 7 this week the teenager may face trial as an adult, but that is still to be determined.
The Killing of Lisa Thorborg
Thorborg was a beloved grandmother who had moved to Carlsbad with her family just 6 months ago.
On the morning of Nov. 23, Carlsbad Police Department detectives believe Thorborg went hiking alone on a trail that runs through Hosp Grove Park – just blocks away from her home.
Investigators said Thorborg had posted some messages on social media in the days leading up to her killing asking if there was anyone around who wanted to go hiking with her.
“Hiking anyone?” she posted on NextDoor, a social media site that connects neighbors. “I would love the company.”
The Carlsbad Police Department is still investigating those posts and whether they had anything to do with Thorborg’s killing.
The crime left residents of Carlsbad on edge for several weeks.
Earlier this month, police put out a message on social media asking concerned parties not to try and take the investigation into their own hands. Investigators grew concerned because of social media posts circulating within the community suggesting civilians, frustrated by the lack of progress in the case, would search nearby homeless encampments for suspects.
But on Monday, a break in the case finally came.
After the suspect’s arrest on Monday, Thorborg’s family released a statement saying they were grateful for the “outpouring of support, love and generosity” from the Carlsbad community.
Following the news of the arrest, Thorborg's family released the following statement, in part:
“Our family moved here with Lisa just 6 short months before her tragic death, and in a year dominated by COVID, there has not been much opportunity to meet our new neighbors and make friends. Since the shocking news of Lisa's death, however, there has been an endless outpouring of kindness and generosity that literally brings us to tears and warms our hearts. From the organization of the ‘Finish Lisa's Walk’ event in Hosp Grove to the many meals, flowers, and gifts that we have received, we want you to know that we feel SO loved and supported by this incredible community.”
The family said they were confident police would help bring justice for Thorborg.
The weekend following Thorborg’s death, hundreds from the Carlsbad community and beyond organized “Finish Lisa's Walk,” a symbolic hike on the same trail where the victim was found dead a week prior.
The community wanted to finish the walk that Thorborg could not finish.
Although investigators have been unable to release details of the case, the CPD said there are no other suspect’s in the victim’s slaying.
The decision as to whether or not the suspect will face trial as an adult will take some time. A prosecutor will have to file a motion, then there will be a hearing and a court report on the fitness of the defendant to face trial as an adult.
Should a judge rule the teen be tried as an adult, the defendant will be eligible for life without parole.