El Cajon man pleads not guilty in bizarre murder case

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Derrick Jefferson Spurgeon, 38, of El Cajon, pleaded not guilty Dec. 14 to accessory after the fact in a bizarre murder in which a man’s body was found in a 55-gallon drum in San Diego Bay.

Timothy John Cook, 52, of Chula Vista, pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Omar Medina whose body was found Oct. 12 in the drum and it had been weighted down.

Deputy District Attorney Cherie Somerville told Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers that Medina had been stabbed 66 times.

Derrick Jefferson Spurgeon, 38, of El Cajon, pleaded not guilty Dec. 14 to accessory after the fact in a bizarre murder in which a man’s body was found in a 55-gallon drum in San Diego Bay.

Timothy John Cook, 52, of Chula Vista, pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Omar Medina whose body was found Oct. 12 in the drum and it had been weighted down.

Deputy District Attorney Cherie Somerville told Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers that Medina had been stabbed 66 times.

“Mr. Spurgeon helped as accessory after the fact,” said Somerville to reporters afterwards without specifics.

The prosecutor did not say how Cook and Medina may have known each other or the motive for the homicide. The victim’s family attended the arraignment.

Spurgeon has another pending case in which he is charged with transportation and sales of controlled substances.

A preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 29, although Somerville said she thought it might be delayed. Somerville told the judge Cook had a violent history and previously was sentenced to 13 years in prison for attempted murder.

Weathers set bail for Spurgeon at $500,000, and ordered Cook be held in jail without bail.

Preliminary hearing set for man facing felony charges in beating of El Cajon Police officer

A Dec. 26 preliminary hearing was set Dec. 11 after a judge found Daniel Moses Cook mentally competent to face felony charges in beating an El Cajon Police officer.

The lawyer for Cook, 43, had suspected he was mentally incompetent to understand court proceedings, so a psychological evaluation was conducted in jail.

A San Diego Superior Court judge reviewed the evaluations before finding Cook competent. Cook is accused of beating officer Jose Sioson to unconsciousness July 17 after Sioson responded to a robbery call.

Personnel from the Dollar Store and KFC restaurant on Fletcher Parkway had called police after Cook was allegedly stealing from both places. Cook is charged with five counts of assault, robbery, possession of methamphetamine, and being under the influence of methamphetamine at the time.

Cook has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $500,000 bail.

“Hipster Bandit” receives three-year prison term

A 3-year federal prison term has been given to the “Hipster Bandit,” who held up a La Mesa bank and six others while wearing stylish clothing and sunglasses.

William Conn Robertson II, 29, was ordered to pay $16,120 in restitution to all of the banks robbed in the “Hipster Bandit” series that was so nicknamed by the FBI because of his clothing and appearance.

The U.S. Bank, at 8920 Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa, lost $1,800 during the July 2, 2015 robbery that was the first in the series. Robertson pleaded guilty to robbing seven banks that were also located in Clairemont, Scripps Ranch, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, and Oceanside.

Robertson did not display a weapon in any of the hold-ups. He wrote a note on an envelope to the La Mesa teller that warned, “not do anything stupid,” according to court records.

The prosecutor asked U.S. District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz for a 41-month term on Dec. 6, while his attorney sought a sentence of the 17 months Robertson has already served.

Robertson, who was an Army military sniper during tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested July 14, 2016, at a Serra Mesa apartment where he was staying on the couch of a friend he knew from high school.

He had received help from a veteran’s group after his motorcycle broke down and was photographed in an online posting wearing a red T-shirt with the word “Sriracha” on it that was worn during one of the robberies.

Robertson was in the Army for four years and turned 21 when he was in Iraq for 11 months, according to his attorney. He was honorably discharged. Moskowitz ordered him to pay $700 in penalty assessments.

East County man to be sentenced after guilty plea

An East County man will be sentenced Jan. 4 after pleading guilty to injuring his stepfather with a sword in Boulevard.

Brian Robert Ellis, 34, also pleaded guilty to recklessly burning a trailer in the Oct. 8 incident.

A prosecutor said Ellis is likely to receive a jail sentence with probation. El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador dismissed an assault charge in which Ellis struck his mother with a baseball bat.

Sheriff’s deputies responded and found him agitated and pacing back and forth in the trailer while rambling incoherently. Ellis remains in jail on $250,000 bail.