Preliminary hearing for man accused of raping and killing teen pushed back to August

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — An Inglewood man who police say admitted to raping and killing a Bakersfield teen had his preliminary hearing postponed four months Wednesday.

Armando Cruz, 25, is charged with rape, murder, kidnapping and nine charges related to contacting and sexually assaulting a minor in the death of 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre.

Cruz’s preliminary hearing — where a judge determines if prosecutors have enough evidence to hold a defendant for trial — was postponed from Friday to Aug. 12 during a brief hearing Wednesday morning.

The defense has moved to block media access to the proceedings. A hearing on that motion is also set for August.

Following his arrest, Cruz provided detectives with information including where he left Alatorre’s body and where he tossed her cellphone from his pickup as he drove back to Los Angeles from Bakersfield, according to court documents. He told investigators he strangled the girl when she screamed as he tried to sexually assault her.

Alatorre was initially reported as a runaway July 2. But a neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera captured Alatorre entering a white pickup, and conversations on her Instagram account showed a man offered to pay her for sex acts and threatened to leak inappropriate photos of her online.

The man was identified as Cruz and Los Angeles police located him at a studio apartment in Inglewood, the documents said. A white pickup registered in Cruz’s name and matching the description of the suspect vehicle was parked near the apartment.

Cruz told police he communicated with Alatorre through the app and twice met her in Bakersfield. He described in detail how he killed her when she resisted him on the second occasion and how he disposed of her body, the documents said.

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