Courtroom - Photo courtesy of Sadmir Kanovicki on Pexels

Arraignment was delayed Monday for a Beverly Hills man facing murder charges stemming from the overdose deaths of a model and her friend, who were dumped outside Southland hospitals in November.

David Brian Pearce, 40, was arrested in December, but was not immediately charged in the deaths of Christy Giles, a 24-year-old model and aspiring actress, and her friend Hilda Marcela Cabrales-Arzola, 26. But he was charged in connection with a series of unrelated alleged sexual assaults involving seven women between 2007 and 2020.

Pearce was subsequently charged with the two murder counts, along with two felony counts of sale/transportation/offer to sell a controlled substance — fentanyl. On Monday, Pearce’s arraignment on the new charges was delayed until Aug. 29. The judge on that day will also hear arguments on the prosecution’s motion to increase Pearce’s bail from $3.4 million to $8.4 million given the new charges against him.

Giles’ parents were in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom for Pearce’s latest court appearance, with Deputy District Attorney Catherine Mariano telling reporters outside court that they are “sad about the circumstances of the death of their daughter.”

Attorney Joshua Ritter, who represents Giles’ parents and husband, said the victim’s parents flew from Alabama to attend the hearing and said it was “a little frustrating for them” that Pearce’s arraignment had been delayed.

“It was incredibly emotional for them. They’re both kind of still dealing with the shockwave from what happened to their beautiful daughter,” Ritter said outside the courthouse.

He said the family was “obviously frustrated and saddened to have learned that there was a trail of women who were victimized by David Pearce and that it took the murders of these two young ladies until we got to today …”

At a news conference last Tuesday announcing the latest charges, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said, “I realize that this will not bring any comfort necessarily to the Arzola family or the Giles family, but it will bring accountability.”

The deaths of the model and her friend were classified earlier this year as homicides by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, with toxicology reports finding multiple drugs present in both victims’ systems.

According to the department, Giles died of a mixture of cocaine, fentanyl, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid and ketamine, while Cabrales-Arzola died of multiple organ failure with cocaine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) and other undetermined drugs found in her system.

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, is also known as a “date rape drug,” according to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration.

The two women were last seen at an apartment in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood before their bodies were dumped, Giles outside Southern California Hospital in Culver City and Cabrales-Arzola outside Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Hospital.

Giles was already dead when she was found outside the hospital on Nov. 13. Cabrales-Arzola, an architect, was alive but in critical condition. Her family took her off life support later that month, a day before her 27th birthday.

Giles’ mother, Dusty, wrote on Facebook that she hoped the coroner’s findings would lead to criminal charges being filed over the women’s deaths.

“While we her family all along knew and felt strongly our baby was murdered, it is now officially listed as her cause of death!” Dusty Giles posted earlier. “With this our prayers are the L.A. County D.A.’s Office will move quickly and swiftly on re-arresting ALL parties involved and this time PRESS THE CHARGES! Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.”

Two other men, Brandt Osborn, 42, and Michael Ansbach, 47, were each booked on suspicion of being an accessory to manslaughter in connection with the deaths of Giles and Cabrales-Arzola, but were later released from custody while the investigation continued.

Osborn has since been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact with knowledge of the crime, according to the latest criminal complaint. He appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. His bail was set at $40,000, which he was expected to post and will remain out of custody.

He is also due back in court Aug. 29, when a date is scheduled to be set for a preliminary hearing.

The District Attorney’s Office is still reviewing whether to file a case against Ansbach, according to Mariano.

During a news conference last Tuesday announcing the newest charges against Pearce, the district attorney asked any other potential victims to notify the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Homicide Bureau at 213-382-9740 or the District Attorney’s Office at 877-542-9370.

“We know that often survivors do not report sexual assault for a variety of reasons,” Gascón said. “Sometimes they feel the system is not going to listen to them, sometimes they’re afraid of their assailant, sometimes they feel ashamed, and we recognize that these are all factors that play a role. That is one of the reasons we’re here to say to our community and certainly survivors out there that if you feel comfortable coming forward … We’re here for you.”

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