A Pala man raped his fiancée, tied her up and held her in a van for days before stabbing her to death, a prosecutor said today.
Opening statements in the trial of Mickey David Beauchamp Wagstaff started this morning at the in French Valley. Wagstaff is charged with the February 2009 sexual assault and murder of Elizabeth Kellenbarger Amirian.
to read more about the victim and the circumstances surrounding her murder.
Wagstaff, 27, punched Amirian in the face, ripped off her shirt and raped her in the back of a van on Feb. 10, 2009 after the couple fought about their pending wedding, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Garcia told jurors.
Wagstaff kept Amirian bound and trapped in a van for two days while she read and prayed to him, Garcia said.
On Feb. 12, a Temecula police officer attempted to search the van while it was parked on the third floor of a Promenade Mall parking structure. Wagstaff panicked when he saw the officer and stabbed Amirian 39 times with a hunting knife, Garcia said.
Prosecutors have charged Wagstaff with first-degree murder with a sentence enhancement for sexual assault. He could face life in prison without parole if convicted.
He appeared in court today with a fresh haircut and shave. Until this month, he wore his hair long with a short-cropped beard. To see pictures of him before the change, click on the photo gallery above.
Wagstaff came from a family of devout Seventh Day Adventists, and was disowned by his parents after announcing his intent to marry Amirian, a Christian. He lived in Amrian’s van for months so the couple could save money for the wedding and their future, the prosecutor told a jury.
A picture of Amirian’s tattooed back, covered in pink stab wounds, was projected on the wall during the statement. Wagstaff stared emotionlessly at the judge during the statement.
To see a picture of Amirian's tattooed back before she was killed, click on the photo gallery above.
“This case is not difficult, but it’s very sad,” Garcia said. “He didn’t want to let her live without him.”