Preliminary hearing set for man accused of torture killing

INDIO, Calif. - A Feb. 5 preliminary hearing date was set Monday for a Thousand Palms man accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing his former girlfriend.

Carl Richard Perdock, 47, is accused in the death of 33-year-old Arianna Villareal of Desert Hot Springs, whose body was found in a shallow grave in Sky Valley on Sept. 28, 2012.

The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence for Perdock, who's being held without bail, to stand trial on charges of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, along with a special circumstance allegation of torture that makes him eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without parole if he's convicted.

Prosecutors will decide later whether to pursue capital punishment.

On Sept. 27, 2012, Villareal's boyfriend called 911 and alleged that Perdock, who had dated Villareal in the past, had assaulted her. Robert McTaggart told a sheriff's investigator that Perdock arrived at McTaggart's residence with Villareal in the front passenger seat of his Jeep and a ``sack'' over her head, according to a declaration filed in support of a search warrant.

McTaggart told the investigator that Perdock carried Villareal to a bed and ``he then heard Perdock ask for his brass knuckles'' before allegedly stabbing Villareal with a pair of scissors, according to the document prepared by Riverside County sheriff's Investigator Isaac White.

``(Villareal) was bleeding, and was so injured she could not even speak,'' White wrote. ``(Her boyfriend) watched as Perdock straddled Villareal and struck her in the head several times with a closed fist, `like a cage fighter.'''

McTaggart alleged that Perdock ``yelled statements like, `I'm going to kill you,''' and the witness ran out of the residence to call 911.

According to the document prepared by White, Perdock told an investigator that he saw a man with a shotgun in Villareal's house when he came over that day, and said the man fired at him, but missed, before running off.

Villareal had a ``hole'' near her neck, according to Perdock, who said he took her to her boyfriend's house to tend her wound and then drove her to Longvue Road -- where her body was later found by authorities. He said he tried giving her CPR until he realized she was dead, then stuffed her body in a sleeping bag and buried her, according to White's declaration.

``Perdock subsequently admitted to punching Villareal several times, and stabbing her with a pencil,'' White alleged.

Sheriff's Cpl. Angel Ramos said a man called the sheriff's department the afternoon of Sept. 27 to report an assault with a deadly weapon and said someone was ``making threatening statements and was depressed over the break-up with his ex-girlfriend.''

Deputies found blood in Villareal's bedroom at her home on Hot Springs Road in Sky Valley, and further investigation led to a residence in the 22000 block of Longvue, where Perdock fled in a red Jeep Cherokee, breaking through a chain-link fence, according to White's declaration.

Deputies gave chase, with a California Highway Patrol helicopter and K-9 officer joining in the pursuit and search that resulted in Perdock's detainment about 4:30 that afternoon, Ramos said.

Perdock had what looked like blood and dirt on his clothes, and dirt on his head when taken into custody, according to the declaration, which says a detective found a shotgun and brass knuckles where Villareal's body was found.

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