MURRIETA - A Wildomar woman accused of gunning down her boyfriend in an allegedly premeditated attack at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula must stand trial on murder and other charges, a judge ruled today.
It is not only the Pechanga tribal council that are the bad guys. Now add murder to the list of crimes at the Pechanga Resort and Casino
Maria Santos Vihnanek, 32, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty, if convicted of killing 49-year- old Keith Rodman of Los Angeles. The Riverside County District Attorney's Office has yet to decide what penalty it intends to seek should she be found guilty.
Following a nearly daylong preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton found there was sufficient evidence for Vihnanek to proceed to trial on charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment charges, with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.
Rushton scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Dec. 29. The defendant is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
Vihnanek and Rodman had been together for several years. Their son was 6 months old at the time of the shooting, according to prosecutors.
Sheriff's investigators testified today that the defendant kept a diary full of vitriol against Rodman, whom she suggested had subjected her to domestic violence. It's alleged the journal contained an entry in which Vihnanek expressed a desire to kill him.
The two had gone to Pechanga on Feb. 21 for a weekend of gambling and entertainment. Vihnanek rented a room at the resort that afternoon, and shortly before 11 p.m., the defendant allegedly confronted Rodman with a .357 revolver and shot him multiple times in the upper body
The infant was in the room but was not injured, prosecutors said.
Rodman staggered out of the room and made it into an elevator and on the resort lobby, where he collapsed. He was taken to a Temecula-area hospital, where he died about 90 minutes later.
Vihnanek remained in the room, crawling into an empty bathtub with her nightgown on, according to investigators.
The District Attorney's Office said the defendant made statements to deputies regarding what transpired, but the nature of those statements was not disclosed.
She had a gash on her neck that investigators later determined was self- inflicted, according to testimony.