A hulking suspect accused of killing a well-liked school monitor in San Jose was charged with one count of murder Friday afternoon as he made his first court appearance.
All eyes were on the huge, shackled murder suspect as he shuffled into the Santa Clara County courtroom.
43-year-old Oscar Antonio Ayala is charged with killing East San Jose resident and popular school yard monitor at Olinder Elementary School Reina Figueroa.
The six foot, eight inch Ayala kept his head down as he heard the charge. He was held without bail after appearing in court at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
Ayala was arrested for the murder of Figueroa earlier this week. Investigators as well as the victim's family and friends are trying to find out more about him.
Figueroa disappeared from her home Saturday and was found dead inside her minivan several blocks away on Tuesday. Family members and friends at Figueroa's home Friday said they were glad a suspect has been charged.
"I am so thankful that they caught this person that broke up a family, you know?" said family friend Eve Chavez. "I'm just so thankful that they caught this person. I just can't imagine who would hurt Reina like that."
Reina's son Manuel Figueroa declined to be interviewed on camera Friday, but told KTVU he recognized Ayala's name and said he had seen him around.
However, he also said Ayala was not a family friend.
Police said the two knew each other but would not elaborate.
Friends told KTVU they remember Reina saying a guy had been bothering her, but did not know if it was Ayala.
Some answers such as a motive will be harder to come by because Friday the prosecutor said the facts of the case have been sealed.
"We do that because of the active nature of the investigation," said Dep. District Attorney Matt Braker. "We don't want any of the facts to get out that would somehow inappropriately impact the police work."
When KTVU checked, there was no one home at Ayala's listed address.
Ayala is scheduled to return to court on September 13th, when his case will be assigned to the public defender's office.
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