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Frederick Joseph Hengl, 69, was brought into court in a wheelchair today, July 8, 2013.

His public defender, Deborah Kirkwood, said the man is too ill to sit through a preliminary hearing, and his next court date was set for August 20. He is held in lieu of $5 million bail in San Diego’s downtown jail, in their medical unit.

Hengl was first brought into court eight months ago (photo), when he was charged with murder and cruelty to elder and unlawful act with human remains. At that time, his public defender stated that Hengl had a “heart condition.” The man looked even thinner and more frail, today.

Last November, Oceanside police said they went to his home on North Ditmar Street when “neighbors reported a foul odor coming from the residence.”

Police found parts of Hengl’s wife cooking in three pans on the stovetop, a prosecutor claimed. “The officers saw clear evidence of cooking, in that the heat was on and that it was actually in the process of being cooked,” prosecutor Katherine Flaherty said at Hengl’s arraignment, November 21, 2012.

The head of Anne-Marie Faris, 73, was found in the freezer, wrapped in plastic. The prosecutor claimed, “He was in the process of dismembering his wife.”

“They found what appeared to be a work area in the bathroom, with a saw, a boning knife, and other cutting instruments,” prosecutor Flaherty said. “There was a bag, separately, that appeared to be many pieces of bone that had been freshly cut.”

Hengl is accused of killing his wife between November 1 and November 16. “The timing is something that we’re still trying to nail down,” the prosecutor said. She also said the exact cause of death is not yet determined.

“Defense will argue that his wife died of natural causes,” said public defender Deborah Kirkwood. “She was diagnosed with Alzheimers and had suffered from the disease for many years.” The defense attorney said Hengl quit his job to take care of his wife. “Mister Hengl cared deeply for his wife of 35 years. Those who knew him said he always referred to her as ‘my bride.’”

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