A Serra Mesa woman accused of killing her 79-year-old mother and dumping her body in a remote field near Ramona pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge.
Ghazal Jessica Mansury, 42, was ordered held on $2 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood declined to discuss a possible motive in the case because the investigation is ongoing.
The prosecutor unsuccessfully asked Judge Lorna Alksne for $5 million bail, saying the defendant was a flight risk. She was born in Jordan and moved to Afghanistan with her family before coming to the United States when she was very young, Greenwood said.
The defendant, who faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, was booked into jail last Thursday night in connection with the death of Mehria Mansury, who shared her Amulet Street home with the defendant.
When the victim went missing Sept. 23, relatives immediately asked detectives to look into the possible involvement of her daughter, who has a criminal history related to thefts, said San Diego police Lt. Jorge Duran.
Police also have not disclosed a suspected motive, and said the cause of the victim's death remained under investigation.
Last Wednesday afternoon, a sheriff's search-and-rescue team found Mehria Mansury's body lying face-down underneath a tree in an open area on the grounds of Barona Indian Reservation, Duran said. Hours later, police took her daughter into custody for questioning.
She was later released, then arrested Thursday afternoon as she and her boyfriend, Lucio Moreno, 57, left a friend's house in City Heights. Moreno was interrogated and released, though he remains a "person of interest" in the case, the lieutenant told news crews.
"It remains to be seen whether any other charges will be filed against any other individuals," Greenwood told reporters outside court today.
A status conference was set for Oct. 15 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 21.-City News Service