EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The 69-year-old suspect in a triple-homicide that resulted in the death of a couple and their 3-year-old son inside their East El Paso home in 1994 was arraigned in an El Paso court Tuesday afternoon.

Photos Courtesy El Paso Times archive.

Arturo Ortega Garcia, 69, is accused of murdering Francisco Santoni, 59, his girlfriend, Concepcion “Connie” Villa, 28, and their 3-year-old son, Dante Santoni, inside their home in the 1800 block of Garden Gate Way, behind Montwood High School.

Judge Annabel Perez set a May 19 trial date for Garcia, saying she would also schedule a status hearing for January.

Garcia entered a not-guilty plea. His appointed attorney, Leonard Martinez, claims his client doesn’t trust the phone system at the jail, and he has not had an opportunity to speak with his client in person.

According to El Paso Police, Garcia was implicated after DNA evidence at the scene linked him to the murders in 2015. Authorities say Garcia was extradited from Mexico City after spending two years in jail following a 2020 arrest on an unrelated charge.

According to an El Paso Times archive report, Villa’s sister arrived at the couple’s home looking for her around 10:45 a.m. on August 11, 1994, when she didn’t show up for work at a travel agency. The house was ransacked, and Santoni and Villa were found on the floor of the primary bedroom.

Their 3-year-old son was found on his bed, face down. According to the report, the victims were stabbed 10 times or more. Police believe the couple was killed in the middle of the night.

Villa’s 1994 Dodge Colt was missing from the couple’s home and was located four days later in South El Paso at the intersection of Paisano and Durango, just blocks from the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

The 1994 El Paso Times report cites El Paso police, saying the couple may have struggled with the killer, but there were no signs of forced entry.

In Tuesday’s arraignment hearing, Assistant District Attorney William Dixon said DNA evidence collected underneath Villa’s fingernails matched Garcia. No other motive or evidence was provided.

Garcia will not face the death penalty for the triple-murder due to an extradition treaty with Mexico that does not allow for defendants to face the death penalty.