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Venice attack suspect charged with murder in connection with victim’s death – NBC Los Angeles

The district attorney’s office announced Tuesday that a man previously accused of sexually assaulting and brutalizing two women in the Venice Canal area has been charged with murder in the death of one of the victims.

Anthony Francisco Jones, 29, is accused of attacking two women on the night of April 6. One of the victims, 53-year-old Sarah Alden, has been in a coma since the attack, but was taken off life support on Friday and died.

“We offer our hearts and deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends at this unimaginably tragic time,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement Tuesday announcing the murder charge. “We are committed to seeking justice for both victims of these heinous crimes. The additional murder charge carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, in addition to the life sentences for the previously charged crimes.”

Jones was arrested in San Diego last month in connection with the robberies and was originally charged with two counts of forcible rape and one count each of forcible sexual penetration, mayhem, torture, attempted murder and forcible sodomy.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, the newly filed murder charge includes special circumstances in which he committed forcible rape and forcible sodomy during the commission of the murder.

He is scheduled to return to court on June 11 in the Airport Division Court, when a hearing date will be set to determine whether there is enough evidence to stand trial. He is being held without bail.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department and prosecutors, the first attack occurred around 10:30 p.m. on April 6 in the 2700 block of Strongs Drive, where Alden was approached from behind and struck with a blunt object, knocking Alden unconscious. About an hour later, the suspect similarly attacked another woman while she was walking near the Sherman Canal. This woman also suffered serious injuries but survived.

Alden, a Massachusetts resident, was the mother of two sons and was moving to Venice when the attack occurred.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to cover funeral costs, she planned to meet two close friends for breakfast on April 7 to tell them she was moving from Massachusetts to the Los Angeles area.

“She was a lover of East Coast sunrises and West Coast sunsets,” a friend wrote on the site. “Sarah adored her two sons, her animals and was blessed with a refined eye for vintage jewelry, which she sold on Roseark.com. At the age of 53, Sarah wanted to start a new chapter in her journey; walk a new path. Instead, her life was brutally taken away.”