MURRIETA – A probationer accused of fatally stabbing a Temecula woman and nearly killing another during two unprovoked attacks within a several- hour period pleaded not guilty today to murder and attempted murder charges.
Jonathan Kim, 23, of Temecula could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of murder, with a special circumstance allgation of lying in wait, in the May 15 death of 21-year-old Wilysha Gardner.
Kim, who also faces great bodily injury allegations, appeared with his public defender before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, who scheduled an Aug. 20 felony settlement conference.
Sheriff’s investigators allege that in the predawn hours of May 15, the defendant attacked a woman at a Temecula apartment building where his parents live. The victim, whose identity was not released, was stabbed once, after which Kim allegedly fled the scene.
The convicted felon apparently walked several miles to a house in the 27000 block of Nellie Court and allegedly forced his way inside. Prosecutors allege Kim attacked Gardner in the two-story house sometime around 9 a.m. She suffered multiple stab wounds and died at the scene.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Bouffard said Kim and Gardner were not acquainted, though he declined to disclose a possible motive for the deadly assault.
Witnesses called deputies to the residence and provided a description of Gardner’s assailant. According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Huskey, Kim was located a short time later outside a shopping center on Winchester Road, where he was arrested without incident.
According to court records, Kim has a 2012 conviction in San Bernardino County for assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to six months in jail — most of which he spent in a work-release program — and five years probation.
Kim is being held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.