Woman at center of slaying and alleged cover-up by ex-detective in court

Ronald Dove (left), a homicide detective with 16 years on the force, has been suspended as police investigate the possibility he covered up at least three murders - including one involving his girlfriend, Erica Sanchez (right).

Erica Sanchez - the woman at the center of a swirling scandal that led to the firing and investigation of a homicide detective - on Tuesday calmly waived her right to a preliminary hearing on charges that she murdered an ex-lover.

Sanchez, 33, appeared in court for her abbreviated hearing looking much different than she did in the police mug shot taken when she was arrested last year for the Sept. 8 knife slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Cesar Vera.

Sanchez, a mother of six, was photographed when she surrendered to police in October sporting long, unkempt dyed-blond locks and dark circles under her eyes.

In court, she appeared fresh-faced, her shoulder-length hair was black and neat, and she wore a black pantsuit and bright red blouse.

She told Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan that she had completed 10th grade and understood that she was waiving her right to a preliminary hearing.

He held her for trial on counts of murder and possession of an instrument of crime. She is being held in a county jail without bail.

Following Sanchez's arrest, scrutiny fell on her boyfriend, Ronald Dove, a 16-year veteran Philadelphia Police homicide detective who allegedly helped her flee to upstate New York after Vera's slaying.

In November, police department brass announced that Dove was being fired for failing to cooperate in the investigation of Vera's slaying and in those of at least two additional killings in which Sanchez's relatives may have been involved.

A grand jury is reviewing Dove's involvement in the cases.

Sanchez's defense attorney, Peter C. Bowers, and Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega said they had no information regarding the grand-jury investigation.

Bowers said his client waived her right to a preliminary hearing because the state had enough evidence to proceed to trial.

"As time develops, you'll know a lot more about our defense," Bowers said.


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