crimesider

Utah Man Thomas Valdez Faces Trial for Murdering Girlfriend

Thomas James Valdez (AP Photo/ Al Hartmann, Pool)
Utah Man Accused of Felony Murder In Death of Girlfriend
Thomas James Valdez (AP Photo/ Al Hartmann, Pool)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CBS/KUTV) Convicted felon Thomas James Valdez has been ordered to stand trial on murder charges stemming from the death of his girlfriend, Maralee Andreason, who was found dead in her West Valley City, Utah apartment March 9.

The 55-year-old Andreason was discovered after police say a family member notified them the evening of March 9, asking them to check on Andreason because they had not been able to contact her, according to CBS affiliate KUTV.

No one answered when police first attempted to knock on her door, but once maintenance staff gave officers a key they found the woman's naked body in a bedroom. According to two West Valley police officer's testimony, blood was all over the bathroom and hallway of Andreason's apartment, reported the Deseret News.

Valdez, 44, told authorities that his girlfriend died from a heart attack, which authorities say didn't reflect evidence at the scene of the crime that indicated she died from blunt force trauma.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Utah Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey testified that Andreason suffered two stab wounds to her cheek and torso, numerous bruises and scratches, several rib fractures and two open head wounds that caused Andreason to bleed to death, reported the Deseret News.

Her son, Travis Andreason, was in the courtroom Wednesday and said he was skeptical of his mother's relationship with Valdez.

"All the writing was there," he told the newspaper.  "We tried to convince her to stay away from him, but she said she loved him."

Valdez was charged with first-degree felony murder and third-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon.

He is being held on $1 million bail at the Salt Lake County jail.