RIVERSIDE – A convicted felon accused of killing two Moreno Valley women for whom he worked as a caregiver, and later breaking into his sister’s home and assaulting several occupants, must stand trial on murder and other charges, a judge ruled today.
Drew Colston Stelp, 52, could face the death penalty if convicted of killing 78-year-old Louise Barrera and 53-year-old Annette Simms last April.
Following a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Edward Webster found there was sufficient evidence to bound Stelp over for trial on two counts each of first-degree murder and robbery, as well as one count of assault with a deadly weapon and burglary and a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.
Webster scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for May 12. Stelp remains in custody without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
Deputies discovered Barrera and Simms during a safety check at the house they shared in the 24000 block of Bay Avenue on the morning of April 26, 2013. The women had been beaten to death with a ”sharp striking instrument” about two days earlier, according to the criminal complaint filed against Stelp.
A concerned family member requested a check of the residence after learning the defendant had been arrested in Newport Beach.
Stelp allegedly fled from Newport Beach officers when they attempted to pull him over for speeding on Pacific Coast Highway on April 26. The pursuit ended when the defendant crashed his vehicle and injured himself.
A couple of hours before the chase, Stelp allegedly forced his way into his sister’s Garden Grove residence at 11422 Larkin Drive and attacked the housekeeper, tying her up with a dog leash. When Stelp’s brother-in-law arrived home, the defendant allegedly attacked him, too, bounding the man so he couldn’t move.
Stelp, apparently angry with his sister over the division of their family inheritance, then began drinking alcohol and popping pills, threatening to kill his sibling, who was not home, as well as her husband and the housekeeper, Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale alleged.
He said the husband freed himself and ran next door for help, at which point Stelp fled in a blue pickup truck, culminating a short time later with the police pursuit.
Stelp was treated at a hospital for his injuries and then interviewed by Riverside County sheriff’s investigators regarding the double homicide in Moreno Valley, resulting in his arrest, said sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Erickson.
In July 1986, Stelp was convicted of felony burglary for a break-in at a Kingman, Ariz., home, according to court records.