Robert Eugene Vasquez Indicted for Near- Decapitation Murder and Second Attack

A San Juan Capistrano man faces an arraignment hearing Wednesday after the Orange County Grand Jury indicted the 34-year-old on charges of fatally stabbing--and nearly decapitating--his neighbor and assaulting a second two days later.

Robert Eugene Vasquez could get the death penalty for the Dec. 1-3, 2011, crime spree, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).

Bobby Ray Rainwater, Jr., 54, was leaving the San Juan Mobile Estates home he shared with his parents the morning of Dec. 1 when someone sneaked up from behind and punched him in the head. Rainwater was then stabbed multiple times and nearly had his head cut clean off.

Lance Lyons was lying down at another San Juan Capistrano residence two days later when he was hit the face with a metal pipe. He was about to be struck a second time when his brother stopped the attacker, identified as Vasquez and arrested later that day by Orange County sheriff's deputies.

While probing the Lyons attack, investigators determined Vasquez murdered Rainwater, according to an OCDA statement. Vasquez was previously charged and arraigned for those crimes, but the grand jury later convened and handing down its indictment Monday, which will speed up the court process because it removes the need for a preliminary hearing.

Vasquez was indicted on one felony count of special circumstances murder by lying in wait, one felony count of aggravated assault, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury. With a conviction, he certainly faces life in state prison without the possibility of parole, but the special circumstances also make him eligible for the death penalty. He is to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Santa Ana.

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