VISTA (CNS) - An accused murderer's hospitalization prompted court officials Tuesday to postpone a preliminary hearing on charges he dismembered his wife at their Oceanside home last year.
Frederick Hengl, 68, is accused in the death of his spouse of 34 years, Anna Faris. The 73-year-old woman was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease when she died, said Hengl's attorney, Debby Kirkwood.
Kirkwood said Hengl has been very sick and lost his will to live since his "bride" died. He has been hospitalized for the past few days at Tri-City Hospital.
The attorney said Hengl quit his job in February 2012 to take care of Faris full-time.
"He was very sad after she died," Kirkwood said, telling reporters that Hengl can't walk and has lost weight -- down to 110 pounds -- since his wife died.
At Hengl's arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Kate Flaherty said police went to the couple's home on North Ditmar Street last Nov. 16 after neighbors complained of a powerful foul odor coming from the residence.
Officers at the scene saw what they thought was meat cooking on the stove, Flaherty said.
After contacting Hengl at a nearby bar, officers realized that he was in the process of dismembering his wife's body, the prosecutor said.
Officers found Faris' head in the freezer wrapped in a bag, according to Flaherty.
In the bathroom, officers found what appeared to be a work area, with a saw and boning knife and other cutting instruments, the prosecutor said.
A bag with pieces of bone that had been freshly cut was also found in the home, according to Flaherty.
Neighbors said they had not seen the victim in about a month and heard what sounded like a power saw coming from the residence in early November.
Whenever a preliminary hearing is scheduled, Hengl will claim that he didn't kill his wife and that she died of natural causes, Kirkwood said.
The defendant is charged with murder, cruelty to an elder and committing an unlawful act with human remains. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.