A San Diego judge has ruled there is enough evidence against a U.S. Marine for him to stand trial for
murder with a hate crime enhancement in the slaying
of a gay man in 2006.
James Hardy, 19, was ordered to remain in jail in lieu of a million dollar bond until the trial.
The body of Raymund Catolico, 39, was found in his San Diego apartment on February 9. A
pathologist testified at this week’s preliminary hearing that Catolico had been dead two days.
Hardy was absent without leave from the Marine Corps at the time of the killing.
Deputy District Attorney Dan Link called the murder a hate crime, that Catolico’s sexuality was “a substantial motivation” in the killng.
He told the court that Catolico and Hardy met at a downtown bus station and later spent an evening drinking at Catolico’s apartment.
Following his arrest, Hardy told San Diego police homicide detectives that he passed out at Catolico’s apartment and later awoke later to find Catolico trying to sexually assault him.
According to Hardy he felt violated and that “one thing led to another and I ended up choking him.”
Hardy’s attorney told the court that the murder was not a hate crime – but rather self defense – and that Link had not established that Catolico’s sexuality had anything to do with the killing.
But, Link countered that Hardy knew full well that Catolico was gay and had agreed to share his bed.
“He had time to think about it, and he formed a plan in his mind for the victim to lay on his stomach, and that’s when he decided to choke him out,” Link said.
Link also told the court that following the murder Hardy went out for fast food, and then brought it back to the apartment and ate it while playing video games on Catolico’s computer.