Marine Ordered To Trial In Gay Man’s Strangulation

SAN DIEGO – A 20-year-old Marine accused of strangling a Little Italy man and stuffing his body under a sink was ordered yesterday to stand trial on murder charges in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime.
James Alexander Hardy of New Mexico was arrested Feb. 11 after he was detained by military police at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. He had recently finished basic training, but had been absent without leave at the time of his arrest, prosecutors said.
He is accused of the Feb. 7 killing of Raymund Catolico, 39, whose body was found two days later in the bathroom of his Kettner Boulevard apartment.
If convicted of murder and committing a hate crime, Hardy could be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. He remains in jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
Judge Frank Brown ruled yesterday that prosecutors had presented enough evidence for Hardy to stand trial.
Deputy District Attorney Dan Link said Catolico was a homosexual man who showed romantic interest in Hardy. He said Catolico’s sexual orientation was “a substantial motivation” in the slaying.
According to court testimony, the two men met at a downtown bus station and later spent an evening drinking at Catolico’s apartment.
Hardy told San Diego police detectives that he passed out at Catolico’s apartment and awoke later to find Catolico trying to sexually assault him. Hardy told police he felt violated and that “one thing led to another and I ended up choking him.”
Deputy Public Defenders Megan Marcotte and Troy Britt contended Hardy acted in self-defense. They said prosecutors had not established that Catolico’s sexual orientation had anything to do with the killing.
However, Link argued that Hardy knew Catolico was gay when they met and Catolico asked Hardy to sleep in his bed.
from The San Diego Union-Tribune

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