Bail denied for man accused of murder

Courtesy Photo.

A judge declined to set any bail May 1 for a man accused of killing his older brother in Lakeside and also wounding another man in the torso.

Felix Joseph Hernandez, 50, pleaded not guilty to murdering George Hernandez, 65, and attempted murder of Elwin Ray Downs, 65, in an incident at 4:31 p.m. on April 26.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a call about a shooting inside a mobile home park at 13460 Highway 8. Deputies said Downs identified Felix Hernandez as the man who shot him.

Felix Hernandez fled in a vehicle, but he later returned to the mobile home park and was arrested.

Attorneys did not make any arguments about bail before El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson, who scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 21.

Man on trial for shooting attacker who slashed his tires

The murder trial of La Mesa resident Christopher Artale has gone into its second week involving the death of a man he shot after the man slashed his car tire.

Deputy District Attorney Valerie Ryan told the jury April 30 she would ask them to convict Artale, 41, of murder in the October 2017 death of Aldo Alfonso Prado, 35, of National City.

“He was armed. He got angry. He aimed,” began Ryan in her opening statement. “He was running away when he was shot. Mr. Prado was shot from behind.”

Defense attorney Richard Boesen claimed it was self-defense.

“This is a case, ladies and gentlemen, of self defense,” he countered. “A murder conviction would compound that tragedy.”

Boesen said Prado sold painkillers and eventually heroin to Artale for pain relief after Prado met Artale at a party, said Boesen.

“It was a buyer/seller relationship,” said Boesen.

Witnesses have testified about the aftermath of the slaying before an eight-woman, four-man jury and El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson.

Ryan said Artale saw an agitated Prado use a boxcutter to slash Artale’s front passenger tire in front of his home in the 4400 block of Glen Street in La Mesa on Oct. 1, 2017.

Artale shot him in the ear and the bullet traveled up through his forehead, said Ryan. Prado was rushed to a hospital and had surgery to remove bones from his brain. Ryan said he had facial and skull fractures.

Prado died two days later. Members of his family sat in the courtroom audience.

Boesen said the National City man had assaulted Artale six times previously. He said Prado held up a boxcutter to Artale’s head.

When Artale pulled a gun, Boesen said Prado responded by saying “you’re not going to shoot me!” Boesen said Artale saw him “stabbing a tire,” an action that caused Artale to be “worried he was going to enter his home.”

Boesen acknowledged that Artale shot Prado. Artale legally owned his gun and was trained to use it, he added.

Artale and Prado were friends, and Ryan acknowledged that both were drug users.

“I saw a body lying in the street,” said a neighbor, Michael Klein, who said he saw “a folding box cutter” within two feet of the body.

Klein said he saw Artale’s mother nearby and she told him this: “He shot him. He had a knife.”

Jiel Kyle said he was in the neighborhood, looking for a friend’s birthday party on that street. He said he heard the sound of “air being let out” of a tire.

“I saw a guy kneeling at the truck, puncturing the tire,” said Kyle, adding he saw Artale display “a shooter stance” before firing a shot.

Artale has pleaded not guilty. He remains in jail on $1.5 million bail.