Preliminary hearing held for 2 roommates accused of torture, murder

FRESNO, Calif.

Anthony Nunez and Margaret Alaniz face charges of murder and torture for allegedly killing a man during the time Fresno police say the female victim was held hostage. Police say the body of the man was pulled from underneath a home in August 2013 after neighbors reported an overwhelming smell coming from near the basement.

During a preliminary hearing on Monday afternoon, homicide detective Antonio Rivera told the court Anthony Nunez had lived there for less than a week, when he said a woman described as Jane Doe knocked on the door looking for a stolen bike. He said the woman was lured inside by Margaret Alaniz, who then tied her hands and feet, gagged her mouth and stuffed her in a closet where she continued to torture her.

"He said at some point that he noticed she had some lacerations and cuts, and also appeared to have some type of chemical or acid poured on her," said Rivera.

In an exclusive interview shortly after the incident, the woman -- who did not want to be identified -- told Action News that Alaniz tormented her the most.

"She beat me with her fists. She beat me with a bottle," the woman said. "She cut me with her sword, and she burned me with a chemical."

It's damage she said she will live with for the rest of her life. That's because while she was held captive, Rivera said the victim was also raped by a man Nunez described as a drug user, helping Alaniz move things in an out of a detached garage. That's when he said Alaniz became upset, pulled the man into a bedroom and repeatedly stabbed him.

"He said Ms. Alaniz had exited and told him they had to get rid of the body," said Rivera.

That man was later identified as Oscar Seja His autopsy revealed he was stabbed 22 times.

A Fresno County judge will decide on Tuesday whether the defendants will head to trial for torture and murder.

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