‘She Told Me … She Was Never Going to See Her Children Grow Up'

An Ocean Beach man accused of killing his wife and disposing of her body is ordered to stand trial.

After two days of preliminary hearings, a judge ordered Henry Lisowski, 68, on Wednesday to stand trial on murder charges that could lead to the death penalty. He is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain.

The preliminary hearing began Tuesday.

Lisowski was arrested last September after the disappearance of his estranged wife, Rosa Lisowski. She vanished last March 24 after walking her son to school, about a week before he was to start paying child support. Her body was never found.

The victim's divorce attorney, Laura Miller, testified her client went to court to get custody of her four children, two by the defendant, and to make her estranged husband pay child support. Miller's paralegal, Treva Cutts, testified that Rosa told her Lisowski offered to pay her $50,000 if she dropped the custody case and fired Miller.

Cutts also said Rosa told her Lisowski repeatedly threatened her, saying he would hire someone to kill her and he would go to jail and she would be dead, leaving the children without a mother or father.

"She was just a mess," Cutts testified. "She said that she knew for a fact that Henry would kill her."

A detective testified Tuesday that Lisowski told police in a letter that he put his wife's body in the trash after she died.

Lilian Rivera, who was Rosa's roommate, told the court Rosa feared for her life.

"She told me that he told her that she was never going to see her children grow up," Rivera testified. "He was trying to get her to drop the [child custody] case."   

John Tefft told the court that Lisowski said in the letter that his wife fell and injured her head outside his house, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Lisowski wrote that he put Rosa's corpse in a trash bin in Mount Hope after she died on her way to the hospital, according to the paper.

Also on Tuesday, a San Diego police detective told the court that investigators found what he believed were bloodstains in Lisowski's house and his vehicle.

Lisowski's business partner, Michael Rosenfelt, and another officer testified that they saw scratches on the defendant's face shortly after Rosa disappeared. Rosenfelt also testified that Lisowski spent three months in Mexico last summer before returning to San Diego.

Judge John Thompson ruled Wednesday that there was probable cause to believe Lisowski was guilty as charged.

Lisowski's trial is set for April 9. The district attorney's office will now decide if they want to pursue the death penalty if Lisowski is convicted.

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