In addition to the pain of losing a loved one, the family of a murdered Lake Elsinore woman faces an ongoing financial burden as her accused killer’s case makes its way through the court system, her brother said Thursday in Joshua Tree.
Greg Jacques, from Orange County, was at the Joshua Tree courthouse to attend a pre-preliminary conference for Ronald Wayne Paoletto, 41, who is charged with murder in the death of his sister, 33-year-old Tanya Marie Petro.
The case was continued until June 14 as prosecutors await further evidence, said Jamie Adams, deputy district attorney.
“The investigation is ongoing,” he said.
An autopsy report listing the cause of death has not been released.
Jacques said his family continues to struggle with the loss of Petro.
“My mom is ruined, and my sister just can’t deal with it,” he said.
Jacques said Petro’s two small children are living with their father and are also having a hard time coming to terms with the loss of their mother.
“They’re having nightmares about this guy hurting their mother,” he said.
The family’s grief has been compounded by the added burden of traveling to Joshua Tree for hearings in the case, Jacques said. Petro’s mother lives in Lake Elsinore and the rest of the family live in Orange County. They are worried about how they will manage when the case comes to trial.
But Jacques said the family will not accept any plea agreement in the case.
“We are going to trial,” he said firmly. “We are not interested in a plea deal.”
Petro’s body was found Jan. 11 in Pipes Canyon Wash near Landers. She was last seen Jan. 4 leaving her Lake Elsinore apartment complex with Paoletto, who was her boyfriend. Her family reported her missing Jan. 7.
Paoletto, a registered sex offender, was a person of interest from the outset. He was arrested Jan.10 in Hesperia on suspicion of violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act. He pleaded not guilty Jan. 14 to the murder charge and remains in custody with bail set at $1 million.
A preliminary hearing scheduled for April 28 was vacated, and a pre-preliminary conference was rescheduled for June 14.