A Waterford man accused of stabbing to death his former girlfriend last week in a Modesto motel room appeared this afternoon in Stanislaus County Superior Court for his arraignment hearing.
Police said Erick John Vogel, 38, broke into a room at the Rodeway Inn on McHenry Avenue on April 22 and "brutally" stabbed 26-year-old Katherine Voelker.
Vogel entered the courtroom in shackles around his feet and waist, and he was wearing a red and white striped inmate jumpsuit. Vogel, who was in the courtroom for about 10 minutes, quietly answered questions from the judge.
Vogel did not enter a plea today. His arraignment hearing was postponed and is scheduled for May 18 at 8:30 a.m.
He faces two felony charges and a misdemeanor charge stemming from the attack on Voelker.
According to the criminal complaint, Vogel was charged with first-degree murder with enhancements for acting with premeditation, using a knife and committing a felony while being out on his own recognizance pending the completion of a sentence for a prior felony conviction.
Vogel was convicted of beating Voelker on March 24, and sentenced to 60 days in jail.
After pleading guilty to the felony charge of spousal abuse, he was released from custody. Superior Court Judge Donald Shaver ordered Vogel to report to the jail May 26 to serve the remaining 47 days of his sentence.
Vogel also was charged with first-degree burglary, since authorities said he broke into the motel room with the intent to commit a felony.
The second felony charge also has an enhancement for committing a felony while being out on his own recognizance pending the completion of a sentence for a prior felony conviction.
The misdemeanor charge is for violating a court order to stay 100 yards away from Voelker at all times. The restraining order was issued to protect Voelker when Vogel was convicted of felony spousal abuse on March 24.
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Judge Thomas Zeff presided over Tuesday's hearing and set Vogel's bail at $5 million. Vogel is being held at the Stanislaus County Jail.
Vogel and Voelker had two young children, who were in the motel room when she was stabbed. She was taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Police said Vogel was seen leaving the motel parking lot in a dark-colored car.
Family and friends have said Vogel and Voelker lived with their son and daughter, Vogel's 12-year-old son and Vogel's mother at a house on Landon Court in Waterford. The home belongs to Vogel’s mother.
Authorities searched for Vogel for four days before an anonymous tip led Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies to a Waterford late Saturday.
The tipster told sheriff's officials Vogel was hiding in a house in the 12000 block of Bentley Street in Waterford, said Sgt. Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman.
Deputies drove to the area and a resident flagged them down, telling the deputies Vogel had just been seen walking into an alley on A Street.
The deputies began a search of the area. A deputy's dog led them to some bushes. Findlen said the deputies sent the dog into the bushes and found Vogel about 10:50 p.m. Saturday.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.