Trial underway of two men charged with murdering, raping Santa Maria woman

Posted at 10:46 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 01:46:35-04

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of two men charged with the rape and death of a Santa Maria woman in 2016.

Victor Martinez and Jose Villagomez are charged with first-degree murder in the death of 64-year-old Marilyn Pharis.

Police said the men broke into Pharis’s home, raped her and beat her with a hammer.

There is reportedly no connection between the men and Pharis.

The case captured national attention because prosecutors said Martinez had been arrested by Santa Maria police six times in the previous year and a half before the murder and is also in the country illegally.

The defendants face life behind bars without the possibility of parole.