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Stepson charged in slaying of former Lake Elsinore councilman

A 40-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his 76-year-old stepfather, a former Lake Elsinore councilman whose body was found in his home in February.

Simon Last Cortez was charged with one count of murder with an enhancement for using a knife and a special circumstance allegation of "lying in wait," according to the Riverside County district attorney's office.

The special circumstance means Cortez could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted, but it's unclear if prosecutors will seek it.

He is scheduled to be arraigned April 15 in Murrieta.

Former councilman George Gregory Alongi was found dead Feb. 15 in his Dolly Drive home.

An autopsy showed that Alongi sustained "numerous stab wounds and lacerations -- including an estimated dozen lacerations to his neck damaging both jugular veins and his airway -- as well as blunt force trauma," the district attorney's office said.

Authorities did not have to go far to find Cortez. He was already in prison serving a nearly three-year sentence for possession of a controlled substance.

Cortez had initially told investigators that he had not been to the home in several months and was somewhere else at the time of the homicide. 

However, a recent follow-up investigation by homicide investigators led to Cortez as a suspect, prosecutors said.

Cortez and his stepfather had previously been involved in arguments, they added.

Alongi, whose time as a city councilman began more than two decades ago, was known for outbursts, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Police escorted him out of chambers on two occasions, and in 1999 he was removed from office by a judge after finding 14 charges of misconduct to be true.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

Twitter: @aribloomekatz

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