A Lancaster man charged with murder in the death of a 72-year-old Santa Ynez man — believed to be the father of a young woman he had been dating — is scheduled to appear in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Friday for a preliminary hearing, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Rylen Quinn Svane-Morris, 26, pleaded not guilty at his Oct. 13 arraignment to charges of murder, assault with personal use of a deadly weapon, and dissuading a witness by force or threat, all felonies.
Mr. Svane-Morris was arrested Oct. 11, on suspicion of killing Terry Lee Wilson, whose body was discovered Aug. 8 around 4 a.m. near a neighbor’s door in the 1000 block of Jason Way in Santa Ynez.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Raquel Zick confirmed Tuesday that investigators suspect Mr. Svane-Morris had been in a “dating relationship” with the victim’s daughter, whose name was not released by authorities to protect her privacy.
Although his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, it could be continued at a preliminary-setting conference set for today, Sonia Balleste, chief deputy district attorney, said Wednesday.
The murder charge against Mr. Svane-Morris lists a special circumstance in that the murder occurred during the commision of a burglary.
It also lists aggravating factors in that the crime involved great violence, great bodily harm, threat of great bodily harm, or other acts disclosing a high degree of cruelty, viciousness or callousness; that the defendant was armed with or used a weapon at the time of the commission of the crime; that the defendant threatened witnesses, unlawfully prevented or dissuaded witnesses from testifying, suborned perjury, or in any other way illegally interfered with the judicial process; and that the defendant has engaged in violent conduct that indicates a serious danger to society.
The second count charges him with the personal use of a deadly weapon in that Mr. Svane-Morris did willfully, unlawfully and personally commit an assault upon a Jane Doe with a crowbar. Prosecutors would not confirm whether the victim’s daughter was Jane Doe.
The third count charges him with using force or a threat of force to dissuade or prevent Jane Doe, a victim and witness to the crime, from reporting it to authorities.
And the fourth and final count alleges that the defendant disobeyed a domestic relations court order, a misdemeanor.
Mr. Svane-Morris was arrested Aug. 11 in Santa Cruz by officers acting on a tip, Ms. Zick said. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office contacted the suspect and arrested him without incident on an outstanding homicide warrant, Ms. Zick said.
Investigators believe he fled the Santa Ynez area in a stolen vehicle, which was
recovered by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and released to the owner.