Man in U.S. Illegally Accused of Raping, Fatally Attacking 64-Year-Old Woman With Hammer in Santa Maria

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A man living in the U.S. illegally has been charged in the rape and assault of a 64-year-old Santa Maria woman who later died of her injuries, authorities said Wednesday.

Victor Aureliano Martinez, 29, and another man are accused of breaking into the home of Marilyn Pharis on the morning of July 24 and attacking her with a hammer, according to police and a complaint filed by the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office.

After the attack, Martinez escaped to a nearby home where officers arrested him, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Pharis was hospitalized with “severe injuries” and died Aug. 1, police said. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

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