BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Armando Cruz, the man accused in the rape and murder of 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre last summer, appeared in a Kern County court room Tuesday morning after his attorneys removed themselves from his case.
Cruz will now be represented by the public defender's office and his next court date is set for Jan 25th. His previous lawyer was present to hand over the information from his case.
He's facing 12 felony counts including rape and first-degree murder. Cruz could face the death penalty if convicted.
Patricia Alatorre disappeared last summer from her South Bakersfield neighborhood near Cresent Ridge Street.
Cruz, an Inglewood resident was arrested by Bakersfield police in the Los Angeles area after authorities located his pick-up truck that was seen leaving Alatorre's neighborhood at the time she disappeared.