Man accused in death of 92-year-old National City woman asks permission to withdraw guilty plea

CHULA VISTA (KUSI) — A man who pleaded guilty to killing a 92-year-old woman at her National City apartment asked a judge Wednesday to allow him to withdraw his admissions to first-degree murder and burglary charges.

On the day he was to be sentenced, Peter Thao also asked South Bay Superior Court Judge Ana Espana to allow him to represent himself, Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody said. The 27-year-old defendant had been facing 31 years to life in prison.

Related Link: Man who killed 92-year-old woman in home invasion pleads guilty to first-degree murder

Thao, of Mira Mesa, was arrested last November in the death of Maria Rivera, whose body was found by her daughter at their rental residence in the 1100 block of D Avenue shortly before 6 a.m. Oct. 22.

Authorities didn’t disclose what led them to identify Thao as Rivera’s killer.

Related Link:? Man arrested in connection to murder of 92-year-old South Bay woman during burglary

The defendant originally was charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during a burglary, which could have resulted in a sentence of life without parole or the death penalty.

A hearing on whether Thao can withdraw his plea was scheduled for Sept. 25.

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