Plainview man charged with murdering, torturing ex-girlfriend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been five days since the Imperial County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, and Mexican authorities arrested Adel Hussein at a Mexicali motel.

The 44-year-old has been brought back to the Central Valley and the Tulare County District Attorney's Office has filed murder charges against him, for the death of his ex-girlfriend, 36-year-old mother of five Brittney Steenbergen.

Steenbergen was reported missing by her children on New Year's Eve.

According to a criminal complaint, authorities believe Hussein murdered her either that day or the day before.

Steenbergen's body was found a few days later in a rural area of Imperial County, between Calexico and El Centro.

On Tuesday, a Tulare County judge read Hussein his charges, which include murder with the special circumstance of torture and the special allegation of using a bat, belt, and a lighter to kill her.

Court documents show it's not the first time Hussein has been charged with using common objects while carrying out extreme violence.

In 2005, he pleaded no contest to assaulting another woman with items including an ice pick, knife, and flashlight.

Hussein was sentenced to three years in prison in that case.

If convicted in this case, he faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

In addition to the murder charges, Hussein is charged with corporal injury to a spouse and false imprisonment.

He'll be back in court on January 24.

He's being held without bail.
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