Trial date set in 2009 strangling of Modesto woman

11/09/2012 12:03 AM

11/09/2012 12:05 AM

A judge on Thursday scheduled a trial to start May 20 for a man accused of first-degree murder in the strangling of his neighbor, who was found dead more than three years ago in her Modesto apartment.

Authorities believe Albert Lee Talley, 39, strangled Jacqueline Marie Borja Schmitz, 29, who was last seen alive May 4, 2009. Her body was found two days later in her studio apartment in the 700 block of 18th Street, on the east edge of downtown. Modesto police found her with an electrical cord wrapped around her neck. A few weeks later, detectives arrested the defendant.

In Talley's preliminary hearing last year, the late Deputy District Attorney Frank Alvarez argued the defendant was angry at Schmitz, who owed him money. The prosecutor said Talley told others, days before Schmitz died, that he was going to choke her.

Stephen Foley, Talley's defense attorney, argued in the preliminary hearing that there were no signs of a struggle at the apartment indicating a murder had occurred, and he spoke about the possibility Schmitz died of a prescription drug overdose. Investigators found at Schmitz's home numerous prescription drug containers, including 30 that had pills inside.

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