Castaic Woman Pleads Not Guilty In Father's Murder Case -- Thu, 09/25/2014 - 12:11pm

A Castaic woman pleaded not guilty in the murder of her father, officials said Thursday.

Denise Ann Gillis, 48, of Castaic, was arraigned Thursday afternoon on a charge that she murdered her father with a special allegation that she used a knife.

Gillis is due back in court on Oct. 27 for the preliminary hearing, officials said.

From a previous story:

James Gillis, 87, was found dead Sept. 5. inside his bedroom at 31963 Emerald Lane in the Stonegate residential community.

“He had several stab wounds and injuries on his head that had allegedly been inflicted the previous day,” according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. 

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested Denise Gillis shortly after her father was found dead.

The deputy district attorney in charge of the case’s prosecution is asking for $1 million bail.

If convicted as charged, Gillis faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison.

A medical examiner with the Coroner’s Office is expected to make the official determination today after an autopsy.

“The information we have right now is that we was a victim of an assault -- a stabbing,” said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. “This came in as an apparent homicide.”

An official with the Homicide Bureau of the Sheriff’s Department confirmed the death was being investigated as a stabbing murder.

A “suspicious death” was reported Friday at 9:15 a.m. on the 31900 block of Emerald Lane, in a small residential community called Stonegate.

Gillis was taken into custody around 10:30 a.m., according to Sheriff’s Department records and a neighbor who saw her placed in handcuffs in front of the home.

From a previous story:

Ruth Seeder, a 17-year resident of the Stonegate neighborhood said it's "very unusual" for a suspicious death to happen in the neighborhood.

"I walk around here at night all the time," she said. "We all kind of look out for one another."

Seeder said a younger woman and an older man lived in the house, and the woman was frequently seen walking her dog.

Another neighbor described Gillis’ behavior in the days before the arrest as “erratic” and worrisome.

The murder is the Santa Clarita Valley’s second homicide in 2014.

The first murder was the Jan. 10 stabbing death of Jose Eduardo Ocampo, who was killed on the 18100 block of Sundowner Way in Canyon Country.

No arrests have been made in that crime.