The man accused of fleeing to Mexico after killing his 19-year-old girlfriend and her mother in their North Redondo Beach apartment last month pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Torrance Superior Court to capital murder charges, City News Service reported.
Police believe Redondo Beach resident Jonathan Chacon, 23, used a knife to kill Vicki Bergman, 59, and her daughter Courtney. Their bodies were discovered Feb. 28 in their Rockefeller Lane apartment by Vicki Bergman's boss when she arrived to pick Bergman up for work.
The special circumstance allegations—multiple murders and use of a knife—mean Chacon is eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will seek a death sentence against Chacon, whose next court date is May 9.
This was the second arraignment for Chacon, who did not enter a plea during the prior arraignment March 2. He is currently being held without bail in the Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles.
Lt. Joe Hoffman of the said "domestic issues" may have been a motive for the killings.
Chacon was taken into custody Feb. 29 at a hotel in Rosarito Beach, Baja California—less than 24 hours after the Bergmans were found slain—thanks to cooperation between the Redondo Beach Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Baja California Fugitive Recovery Program. He was returned to the U.S. without delay because he is a U.S. citizen with a passport, Hoffman said.
The car Chacon was believed to have been driving—a black 1996 Mustang with a torn convertible top—was found parked near Interstate 5 in Mission Viejo hours later. Hoffman told Patch at the time that they didn't know how Chacon got from Mission Viejo to Mexico.
City News Service contributed to this report.