Trial starts for Fairfield man accused of killing ex-wife

By From page A3 | March 07, 2012

FAIRFIELD — Jury selection got under way Tuesday in the murder trial of a Fairfield man accused of killing his estranged wife in 2008.

Miguel Pantoja, 46, is accused of slashing the throat of Adriana Pantoja, 33, at her Coral Lane home in Suisun City. At Pantoja’s 2008 probable cause hearing, a state crime lab DNA expert testified that minute traces of skin found under Adriana Pantoja’s fingernails matched her ex-husband’s DNA sample.

The couple had been involved in a protracted divorce case and Miguel Pantoja had been previously jailed for assaulting his wife, according to court records. Adriana Pantoja had lived in fear of her ex-husband for years. She had obtained several restraining orders against him in the months leading up to her killing. She allowed the last restraining order to lapse a few months before her death.

Pantoja, who has pleaded not guilty, has had his case delayed repeatedly as his defense attorneys have claimed Pantoja is mentally incompetent. Since his arrest, he has spent time at Napa State Hospital and more than a year at Atascadero State Hospital. Twice jury trials over Pantoja’s mental competency have ended with the juries deciding Pantoja was faking his condition.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or at [email protected]

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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