LAX COURTHOUSE ‚Äî A homeless man accused of raping and strangling two women in Santa Monica less than two years apart was ordered Thursday to stand trial on murder charges.
Los Angeles County prosecutors said a judge found sufficient evidence to require Edric Dashell Gross, 48, to proceed to trial following a preliminary hearing that lasted at least two days.
Gross, who was living on the streets when he was arrested in August 2012, is charged in the killings of Jacqueline Ovsak, 42, and Dana Caper, 41, who were also described as transients by Santa Monica police.
Ovsak‚Äôs body was discovered by construction workers on April 5, 2001 in an abandoned building in the 1500 block of Seventh Street. Caper was found on the 800 block of Palisades Park on the side of the bluffs on Oct. 29, 2002. The woman lived along the bluffs, police said.
Both homicides were investigated until leads ran out and the cases went cold, police said.
In September of 2007, investigators assigned to the department‚Äôs cold case unit re-opened both investigations and through DNA processing and new investigative leads, Gross was identified and linked to both murders.
Gross, who was arrested while sitting in Pan Pacific Park near The Grove shopping center, is being held without bail. He is expected to be arraigned at the Airport Branch Courthouse on Oct. 10. He pleaded not guilty during a court hearing shortly after his arrest.