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Man Found Guilty of Raping, Killing Fiancee


Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
Issue 48, Volume 15.
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MURRIETA - A Pala man was convicted today of first-degree murder and other charges for raping his 27-year-old fiancee in a car outside a Temecula mall, then fatally stabbing her when a sheriff's sergeant arrived to investigate.

A Murrieta jury deliberated about six hours before finding Mickey David Wagstaff guilty of murder and found true special circumstance allegations of killing during a sexual assault and killing during a kidnapping in the death of Elizabeth Kellenbarger Amirian.

Wagstaff, 27, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to testimony in the nearly two-week trial, the defendant sexually assaulted Amirian while she was locked in his Toyota Previa in a parking garage at The Promenade mall. The couple had been arguing about marriage plans and whether it was appropriate to have sex before exchanging vows, according to sheriff's investigators.

Prosecutors said Wagstaff forced the victim to stay with him during the two days leading up to the assault, driving to different locations before finally arriving in Temecula. At one point, he bound the woman's ankles to keep her from running away, authorities said.

Moments after the rape, a sheriff's sergeant -- in response to a request by mall security -- approached Wagstaff's vehicle and tapped on the window to check on the welfare of the occupants.

Sgt. Keith Knotek said that when Wagstaff saw him standing there, the defendant took out a knife and began plunging it into Amirian. Knotek said he smashed a window and deployed a Taser to stop the attack, which lasted more than a minute.

Amirian, who was stabbed 39 times in the head, back and neck, died at the scene.

Wagstaff's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Renee Rupp, argued that her client had not planned to kill his fiancee but panicked when he saw the law enforcement officer.


Jury Begins Deliberating in Case of Man Accused of Raping, Killing Fiancee

MURRIETA - Jury deliberations got under way today in the trial of a Pala man accused of raping his 27-year-old fiancee in a car at a Temecula mall, then fatally stabbing her when a sheriff's sergeant arrived to investigate.

Mickey David Wagstaff, 27, faces a no-parole life prison term if convicted of first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a sexual assault in the death of Elizabeth Kellenbarger Amirian.

After two weeks of trial, the prosecution and defense made their closing arguments today and the case went to the jury.

Wagstaff is being held without bail at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

The defendant allegedly raped Amirian while she was locked in his Toyota Previa in a parking garage at The Promenade mall. The couple had been arguing about marriage plans and whether it was appropriate to have sex before exchanging vows, according to sheriff's investigators.

Prosecutors allege Wagstaff forced the victim to stay with him during the two days leading up to the assault, driving to different locations before finally arriving in Temecula. At one point, the defendant allegedly bound the woman's ankles to keep her from running away.

Moments after the alleged rape, a sheriff's sergeant -- in response to a request by mall security -- approached Wagstaff's vehicle and tapped on the window to check on the welfare of the occupants.

Sgt. Keith Knotek alleged that when Wagstaff saw him standing there, the defendant took out a knife and began plunging it into Amirian.

Knotek said he smashed a window and deployed a Taser to stop the attack, which lasted more than a minute.

Amirian, who was stabbed 39 times in the head, back and neck, died at the scene.

Wagstaff's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Renee Rupp, argued that her client had not planned to kill his fiancee but panicked when he saw the law enforcement officer.


Jury deliberations expected in rape and murder trial

MURRIETA - Jury deliberations are expected to get under way today in the trial of a Pala man accused of raping and repeatedly stabbing his 27- year-old fiancee at a Temecula mall, where he was subdued by a Riverside County sheriff's sergeant who allegedly caught him in the act. Mickey David Wagstaff, 27, could face life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a sexual assault in the death of Elizabeth Kellenbarger Amirian. The defense rested its case Tuesday, and closing arguments are slated for this morning, after which jurors will go behind closed doors to review evidence from the nearly 2-week-long trial. Wagstaff is being held without bail at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. The defendant allegedly raped Amirian while she was locked in his Toyota Previa in a parking garage at The Promenade mall. The couple had been arguing about marriage plans and whether it was appropriate to have sex before exchanging vows, according to sheriff's investigators. Prosecutors allege Wagstaff forced the victim to stay with him during the two days leading up to the assault, driving to different locations before finally arriving in Temecula. At one point, the defendant allegedly bound the woman's ankles to keep her from running away. Moments after the alleged rape, a sheriff's sergeant -- in response to a request by mall security -- approached Wagstaff's vehicle and tapped on the window to check on the welfare of the occupants. Sgt. Keith Knotek testified during a December 2009 preliminary hearing that when Wagstaff saw him standing there, the defendant took out a knife and began plunging it into Amirian. Knotek said he smashed a window and deployed a Taser to stop the attack, which lasted more than a minute. Amirian, who was stabbed 39 times in the head, back and neck, died at the scene. Wagstaff's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Renee Rupp, argued that her client had not planned to kill his fiancee but panicked when he saw the law enforcement officer.


 

2 comments

Comment Profile ImageLee Chew
Comment #1 | Friday, Dec 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Now Mickey David Wagstaff should be stabbed 39 times in the head, back and neck.
Comment Profile ImageJill Wojcik
Comment #2 | Friday, Nov 16, 2012 at 6:27 am
He should be raped too Lee!

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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