Jody Cline, accused of killing Virginia Nicole Hall in her Tempe apartment on July 11, is now being charged with sexual assault.
Cline, 20, according to the complaint, allegedly sexually assaulted Hall, 20, after she was dead. The two were former residents of Payson.
Maricopa County Attorney's Office public information officer Bill Fitzgerald said it is not uncommon for a person to only be charged with the most serious crime initially and then face additional charges.
The sexual assault charge came later in the investigation, after DNA samples taken from the victim and the suspect were tested.
Upon conviction, the jury could consider the additional charge when determining Cline's sentence.
Cline could face the death penalty, life with possibility of parole or natural life (no release as long as the convicted person is alive).
Fitzgerald said a judge could impose a sentence for the sexual assault that would be added on to the sentence for the murder conviction.
Cline's next court appearance is at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5 in front of Judge Sherry K. Stephens at the Mesa City Court Complex.
-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See related story:
Cline pleads 'not guilty' in killing of roommate (Aug. 1)