YUBA CITY (CBS13) – New disturbing details emerged Tuesday in the murder of a 94-year-old Yuba City woman who was found inside her home last week what’s been described as a gruesome crime scene.
Michael Patrick Alexander made his first court appearance in Sutter County Superior Court on Tuesday. Represented by a public defender, Alexander didn’t enter a plea to the charge that he tortured and murdered Leola “Dodie” Shreves.
The complaint alleges he dismembered his Park Avenue neighbor during the attack.
Alexander didn’t talk in court Tuesday, but he talked to CBS13 the day the victim was found, calling her “a real nice person.” He also said he saw the killer “in the middle of the night” but then said it was about “6, 7.”
Alexander’s family sat behind him, across from victim’s family, in court. They also refused comment Tuesday, but hours after his arrest, his mother defended her son.
“We believe in his innocence,” she said Saturday. “We love him. We support him very much. He look forward to working with investigators to find the true culprit.”
Alexander’s attorney asked for more time to consider a plea.
“It’s very typical in potential death penalty cases. One of the things they may want to explore is potential mental defenses,” Deputy District Cameron King said.
He shuffled silently into court with a blank expression. But in the hours before the arrest, a neighbor says Alexander had an outburst.
“When the detectives were here, they told mom and I that they had gone over there. They didn’t answer the door for a while because there was screaming and yelling in the house,” Glenda Suoja said. “They said it was the guy in the house who was screaming and crying.”
That same night Yuba City police arrested Alexander for the gruesome murder of the neighbor everyone seemed to adore.
“She wanted to be called Grandma Dodie from the moment we met her and she was just always amazing,” Brittany Smith said.
Prosecutors alleged in the graphic criminal complaint that Shreves was tortured and dismembered.
“The defendant did unlawfully deprive a human being of a member of her body, or disable, disfigure or render it useless, or did cut or disable the tongue, or put out an eye, or slit the nose, ear or lip,” the complaint reads.
The disturbing new details brought her friends to tears.
“My god, it’s just awful. I mean, I’m just, I don’t know, I’m just heartsick,” Suoja said.
Police say what Alexander told CBS13′s Nick Janes face to face last Thursday, that he hadn’t seen Shreves in a couple months, was a lie. He had seen the sweet old lady next door recently – when he tortured and murdered her.
The report doesn’t say what weapon Alexander allegedly used in the attack.
Prosecutors are still considering the death penalty in this case. Alexander is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 13.