On Thursday, Uriel Leon pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and child abuse he's currently facing in San Diego County.
Authorities believe Leon murdered Melissa Contreras, the mother of his children, who found strangled to death on Monday.
As prosecutors went over details of the tragic event, the young man burst into tears. Deputy District Attorney Ben Barlow stated it all went down after Contreras dropped off her two boys at Leon's parent's house before taking off for work. The San Diego Union-Tribute reports that Leon and Contreras had two children, and Contreras has three kids total.
Oceanside police Detective Rick Favela says when the 22-year-old came back after her shift, the estranged couple got into a fight over accusations of infidelity. One of Melissa's friends even stated the two were no longer together and Contreras was "finally happy without (Leon) and he didn't like that."
Surveillance cameras at the residence caught what happened right before and after the alleged murder.
The footage apparently shows Miz Contreras pulling up to the residence around 5:30 p.m. EST and Leon walking out to the vehicle with one of their young children. The toddler then climbs into the back seat, before what appears to be an altercation between parents breaks out.
Shortly after, Uriel can be seen climbing into the back seat behind the driver's seat. After some time, a light in the car comes on and Contreras is seen in the passenger seat with Leon in the driver's seat. The 24-year-old man then drives the car away from the residence and is later seen walking back to the house with his son.
The Deputy DA went on to tell reporters:
"The two-year-old was in the car the entire time and once the defendant positioned himself behind the victim, we believe, he strangled her, killing her at that point."
It wasn't until 8:41 p.m. EST that a neighbor saw a woman's body face down inside the car at which point they called the cops.
Currently Leon is being held on $2 million bail as the judge wants to send a message about the seriousness of domestic abuse cases.
If Uriel is convicted, he would be facing a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
While the Oceanside Police Detectives from the Crimes of Violence Unit is currently investigating, the video footage sounds pretty damning to us.
We'll definitely be interested to see how this whole case shakes out as we wait for more details from the disturbing case.
If you want to help out Melissa's family, you can donate to the GoFundMe page that has been set up in her memory HERE.
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