William "Pookie" Deputy, 36, of Upper Darby, was ordered held for trial on two counts of murder, arson and related offenses following a preliminary hearing at the Criminal Justice Center.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb said it is believed that Coates, 35, and Cruz, 30, were shot inside the van at an undetermined location, then driven to Trenton Avenue and set ablaze.
"It was nasty. The body of Ms. Cruz was not even recognizable at the time as having once been a woman. The sex was undeterminable," said Lipscomb, adding that part of the act of arson was recorded on nearby surveillance cameras.
Public defender Wendy Ramos argued during the hearing that Deputy should only be held on arson charges because no evidence was presented as to how the shootings took place or where.
"What the commonwealth has given you is the burning of a car and [bodies] in a car," she told an unconvinced Municipal Judge Karen Y. Simmons.
Deputy was arrested March 1 at his girlfriend's Upper Darby home, which was swarmed by 30 Philadelphia police officers, 14 Upper Darby officers and the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force.
Deputy was cowering under a pile of blankets and sporting fresh burn marks.
"He did have a full beard, but he'd burned his beard off and he had all kinds of burns on his body when we got him," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said at the time of the arrest.
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