Bail Reduced for Victim's Husband in Murder Spree Case

By Jodi Hernandez
|  Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010  |  Updated 1:37 PM PDT
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Complex East Bay Killing Spree Case In Pictures

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The only living person connected to an East Bay killing spree will soon be out of jail.

Charles Rittenhouse, 72, was being held on $2 million bail after police found the bodies of his wife, Segundina Allen, and Allen's friend, Marcaria Smart, at his Vallejo home last week. Police say they also found chemicals that could be used to make explosives.

According to court documents obtained Wednesday by NBC Bay Area, one of the bodies found at the house of Charles Rittenhouse was located in a bag in the rear bedroom closet. The other body was located under some bushes in the backyard. Both bodies were decomposed.

Rittenhouse was formally charged with possessing explosives, but not with the killings. His attorney petitioned for a reduced bail, claiming he had nothing to do with the deaths and the prosecutor on Wednesday morning agreed to lower bail to $25,000.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Mike Mullins says they don't have enough evidence to charge Rittenhouse in connection to the killings. But, he says, that doesn't mean he's been cleared. He says Rittenhouse remains a "person of interest" in the killings.

"We don't see anymore charges coming forward anytime soon," said prosecutor Andrew Ganz.

Rittenhouse's attorney says her client is relieved.

"This man has been through a lot." Defense attorney Leslie Prince said. "His wife was murdered, he's been in custody for over a week, and this is very good news."

In his delcaration to support an increased bail on Rittenhouse, Vallejo Police Department Cpl. John Garcia said investigators also found several items and components that qualify for explosives including TNT flakes, C-4 high explosives, rocket igniters and safety fuses.

"There were components to mix and manufacture explosives at this residence," wrote Garcia. Based on the discovery of the bodies and the explosives materials Garcia said he "believes he (Rittenhouse) is a threat to society."

Prince says the more likely murder suspect is Efren Valdemoro, who officers shot and killed after a high-speed chase on Aug. 28. Prince said Valdemoro had been stalking Rittenhouse and his wife for years.

The CHP confirmed Tuesday that Valdemoro strangled his girfriend, Cindy Tran, during the pursuit. Tran called a friend from the car during the pursuit but by the time the chase ended, she was dead, officials said. Valdemoro is also suspected of killing Tran's Hercules tenant, Ricardo Sales. Investigators are still searching a Pittsburg landfill looking for Sales' 35-year-old son, Fredrick, who's been missing for more than a week.

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