Three people who are charged in connection with the death of a 91-year-old Dublin woman whose battered body was found in a garbage can outside her house in January pleaded not guilty yesterday.
The defendants are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Aug. 3 to have a preliminary hearing date set in the case.
Police said Selma "Sally" Hill had been beaten, choked and shot with a stun gun before she died. Her body was found Jan. 7.
Rosa Hill, 34, and her mother, 55-year-old Mei Li, have been charged with murdering Selma Hill and of attempting to murder Eric Hill, who was Selma Hill's grandson and the estranged husband of Rosa Hill.
Ping Li, 68, the father of Rosa Hill and the husband of Mei Li, is charged with being an accessory in the case.
Authorities allege that the crimes were committed because Rosa Hill was trying to take her 2-year-old daughter from Eric Hill.
Eric Hill, who's the father, had sole custody of the girl and was living with his grandmother, Selma Hill, at her house in the 7700 block of Peppertree Road in Dublin.
On May 21, 91-year-old Lester Rowe testified that he and Selma Hill "were very close" and were lovers and said their vows to each other in Yosemite, although they weren't legally married.
Rowe said he and Selma Hill spent four days a week together but lived separately three days a week.
He said that on the days they were apart they spoke to each other over the phone at regular times twice a day, at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Rowe said that when Eric Hill moved in with Selma Hill it created some problems.
Eric Hill was messy and his grandmother had to clean up after him, according to Rowe. She supported him to some extent and "to some degree he was taking advantage of her," Rowe said.
Rowe said he became concerned and called authorities on Jan. 7 because he had called Selma Hill seven times that day and there was no answer.
Prosecutor Annie Saadi asked for the May 21 hearing, which was technically called a provisional examination, to record Rowe's testimony in case he's not available for a possible trial for the three defendants, as he's fighting cancer.