Husband jailed in domestic violence shortly before deaths in Atwater

ATWATER -- A married couple found shot to death Friday night in an Atwater apartment have been identified by the Merced County coroner's office as 47-year-old Pedro Serna and 43-year-old Delores Serna of Merced.

Other details emerged Monday in the deaths, and jailhouse booking records show the husband had been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence two days before the killings.

Atwater police haven't reached a definitive motive behind the killings, though they're leaning toward classifying the case as a murder-suicide.

Police responded Friday to the Castleview Apartments in the 1600 block of Bellevue Road after receiving a 10:45 p.m. call about a domestic disturbance. As officers were on their way to the scene, Detective Armando Echevarria said police learned that gunshots had been fired in the apartment.

Officers arrived at the apartment and found the bodies of the couple inside. Echevarria said the Bellevue Road apartment where the killings happened belonged to a relative of the couple, who lives in Merced.

According to Pedro Serna's booking sheet, his address is listed as an apartment in the 1000 block of West Yosemite Avenue in Merced.

Two days before the killings, Merced police arrested Pedro Serna at the West Yosemite Avenue apartment about 8:30 p.m. He was booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony rape of a spouse by force, making terrorist threats, false imprisonment and misdemeanor spousal abuse.

Merced police Lt. Andre Matthews said he couldn't elaborate on the details of Serna's arrest because of confidentiality concerns about the victim.

Pedro Serna remained at the jail until 8:58 p.m. Friday, after someone posted his $165,000 bail. Less than two hours later, Pedro Serna and his wife were found dead at the Bellevue Road apartment.