Man charged with killing girlfriend, setting fires in home

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man accused of fatally stabbing his live-in
girlfriend, whose body was found when firefighters responded to a blaze at
their Clairemont home, was charged Wednesday with murder and arson.

Anthony Elias Estrada, 41, is charged in the death of 46-year-old
Margaret Pappas.

Estrada's arraignment was postponed until Thursday because he was
confined to a safety cell.

Emergency crews found Pappas, a special-education teacher's aide, dead
from an apparent knife wound just after 5 a.m. Monday while extinguishing
several intentionally set fires in the couple's home.

Firefighters responding to a 911 call in the 4800 block of Huron Avenue
arrived to find two blazes inside the home, one in the living room and one in a
rear bedroom, according to San Diego police.

“While escorting three residents out of the home, one of them commented
that a woman was still inside,” San Diego police Lt. Kevin Rooney said.
“Firefighters found a woman in a rear bedroom, the same bedroom where a fire
was extinguished.”

Pappas was pronounced dead at the scene. The only resident of the house
who was not present when emergency personnel arrived was Estrada, according to

Shortly before 7:30 a.m., while patrol officers were briefing homicide
investigators about the case, Estrada surrendered to workers at Clairemont High
School, the lieutenant said. The employees notified police, who responded and
took Estrada into custody.

Police did not disclose a possible motive.

Estrada — who remains held without bail — faces 34 years to life in
prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Dan Link.

One of the victim's three daughters said her mother and Estrada had been
together more than a dozen years and wore wedding bands. Pappas also had a 14-
year-old son.

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