A man accused of sexually assaulting and strangling two women in Santa Monica less than two years apart was ordered today to stand trial on murder charges.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Dabney found sufficient evidence to require Edric Dashell Gross, 48, to proceed to trial following a two and a half day preliminary hearing, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter.
Gross, described as a transient by police, is charged in the killings of Jacqueline Ovsak and Dana Caper, both also described as transients.
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations that the two women were killed during the commission of a rape and that Ovsak was killed during the commission of a burglary, along with multiple murders. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.
Ovsak's body was found April 5, 2001, by construction workers in an abandoned building in the 1500 block of 7th St. -- an area the 42-year- old woman was known to frequent, according to police.
Caper's body was found Oct. 29, 2002, on the side of the bluffs in the 800 block of Palisades Park. The 41-year-old woman lived along the bluffs, Santa Monica police said.
DNA processing, along with new leads, helped identify Gross and link him to both killings after both investigations were re-opened in September 2007, according to Santa Monica police.
Gross, arrested in August 2012 while sitting in Pan Pacific Park, is jailed without bail. He is due back at the Airport Branch Courthouse for arraignment Oct. 10.