COEUR d'ALENE - A man accused of strangling Facunda Veleuzelaleou and her 5-year-old daughter, Dayanna Valencia, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder.
Angel Albertico Morales-Larranaga required a translator during his first appearance in Kootenai County District Court. The 24-year-old, wearing a black sleeveless shirt and appearing in handcuffs at the Kootenai County Public Safety Building, needed clarification on his rights prior to District Court Judge Barry Watson reading the charges.
"Each charge has a potential sentence of life in prison or, in certain circumstances, the death penalty can be imposed," Watson said.
Morales-Larranaga hung his head while the translator said the suspect understood the charges.
On Tuesday morning, Morales-Larranaga allegedly went to the home of a family friend and told her he had strangled his wife and daughter. When the friend called 911, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said, Morales-Larranaga "became nervous" and left the residence.
Officers stopped Morales-Larranaga's vehicle near Spokane Street and Poleline Drive and arrested him. Shortly afterward, Post Falls Police Department detectives entered Unit 211 of building B at the Tullamore Commons apartment complex and discovered the bodies of Veleuzelaleou and Valencia.
When suggesting a $2 million bail be set in the case, McHugh mentioned the nature and circumstances of the incident - including Morales-Larranaga removing his two children from the apartment on the day the alleged murders took place.
"These two charges are particularly personal and sensitive because they involve strangulation," McHugh said. "We also have two victims in relationships with the defendant: one his 'wife' and the other the daughter of the victim."
Morales-Larranaga's public defender declined to comment on a bail amount. Watson then said that due to the allegations being "extremely serious offenses," he was setting the bail at the recommended $2 million.
Authorities are uncertain of Morales-Larranaga's citizenship status.