San Diego

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Special-circumstances allegations that could bring the death penalty were filed Friday against a parolee charged with killing a 17-year-old girl in a vacant house in East San Diego.

Willie Ray Roberts Jr., 33, is accused of strangling Melissa Orchulli on July 12.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Denise McGuire said she will seek the death penalty against Roberts if he is convicted of first-degree murder. McGuire said the special circumstances allege that the murder occurred during the commission of a sex crime and a burglary.

Roberts will be arraigned Wednesday, when a trial date will be set.

Orchulli was a 10th-grader at Twain Eastern Satellite, a continuation school. Her body was discovered by a prospective renter of the house.


Several teen-age girls testified at Roberts’ preliminary hearing that he approached them and asked to take photos of them. The girls said they refused to go into the vacant house.

Roberts, who is back in custody, was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in 1986.