A second-degree murder charge against a woman charged in the stabbing death of her live-in boyfriend will be reduced voluntary manslaughter, a judge ruled on Monday.
Police arrested Diana Urban, 45, on Nov. 2. She is accused of fatally stabbing Jerome Atencio in their home at Coronado Condominiums on Cerrillos Road after a night of heavy drinking with others.
A preliminary hearing — a public proceeding in which a judge determines whether there is enough evidence for a defendant to face trial rather than a more customary, yet closed grand jury proceeding — had been scheduled for Jan. 18, but a witness failed to show up. That witness, Urban’s brother Antonio Urban, appeared at a hearing Monday.
State District Judge Michael Vigil ruled Monday that evidence wasn’t sufficient to charge Diana Urban with second-degree murder, but there was enough evidence for the state to proceed with a voluntary manslaughter case.
Diana Urban claims Atencio was trying to rape her and she was defending herself. Defense attorney Dan Marlowe and Assistant District Attorney Tom Dow said in January the case would come down to a question of provocation.
Urban, who spent more than a month in jail before her release on Dec. 6, remains free until her arraignment.