MARTINEZ -- A 63-year-old Orinda man on Friday was ordered to trial on murder and torture charges in the death of his longtime girlfriend last year.
The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office says it plans to add a torture special circumstance allegation to James Collin's murder charge in the death of 56-year-old Evangeline Cumbe Devera that calls for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Detectives testified at a preliminary hearing Friday that Collin went to his 90-year-old neighbor's house in the 600 block of Moraga Way on June 26, 2012, with blood splatter and a superficial scratch on his face and said Devera had come after him with a butcher's knife.
"(The neighbor) said he wanted to call police, and James said don't call police, he'll take care of it" and "don't tell anyone," Detective Dale Hadley testified.
About 20 minutes later, Collin returned to the neighbor's home covered in more blood and carrying a bloody machete in his right hand. "I killed her," Collin allegedly told the neighbor before the elder man called 911.
Deputies found Devera's body in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, her kitten crawling on her. She suffered deep wounds to her neck and right foot, and her left hand was nearly severed, according to testimony.
The physical evidence indicates that Devera had been eating a piece of watermelon over the sink when she was attacked, prosecutor Mary Knox said. There was no butcher's knife near Devera or out of place in the kitchen. The knife block and knives within were dusty and lightly sprayed with blood.
Collin was convicted in 2006 of misdemeanor battery for beating Devera with a telephone.
After Devera's death, investigators took a second look into the killing of Collin's younger brother, Tim Collin, who was 32 when James Collin fatally shot him in the same kitchen on Oct. 31, 1986. The re-investigation of the shooting, which had been ruled accidental, did not result in any new charges, however.
The death of Collin's brother could be potentially admissible against him in the current case if he goes to trial, Knox said.
Collin remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. He's scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 8 on Friday's holding order.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.