Lake Murray man pleads guilty to second-degree murder

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A Lake Murray man pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to second-degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of his girlfriend who was the mother of his infant son.

Rodrick Lamar Harris, 33, admitted to killing Vanessa Marie Bobo, 29, who was shot twice around 1 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2016 in their apartment in the 6400 block of Lake Arrowhead Drive.

A Lake Murray man pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to second-degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of his girlfriend who was the mother of his infant son.

Rodrick Lamar Harris, 33, admitted to killing Vanessa Marie Bobo, 29, who was shot twice around 1 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2016 in their apartment in the 6400 block of Lake Arrowhead Drive.

Harris also pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment as Bobo was holding her 11-month-old son when she was shot.  Her 5-year-old child witnessed her being shot.

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Ialeggio said both sides agreed Harris would be sentenced to a stipulated term of 35 years to life in prison. 

“My daddy killed my mommy,” said the 5-year-old, according to Ialeggio.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyerabide set sentencing for Feb. 1. Harris remains in jail on $3 million bail.

Harris would receive 15 years to life for murder plus 20 years consecutively for personally using a gun in a homicide.

The prosecutor said Bobo was shot twice and another bullet went into a wall. Ialeggio said one bullet lodged into her back, severing her spinal cord, which accounts for her fall while holding her infant.

Harris fled the scene and was arrested about 12 hours later by Chula Vista Police officers at the home of a relative.

Child molester sentenced

A former Alpine man was sentenced Jan. 3 to 18 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of molesting a toddler he used to babysit.

Christopher Thomas Harper, 25, received credit for serving over 700 days in jail since his arrest March 4, 2016. 

A co-defendant, Brandon Lightcloud Alto, 31, of Alpine, was sentenced Sept. 28 to 45 years to life after he pleaded guilty to molesting three girls whom he also had been babysitting.

Deputy District Attorney Anne Spitzberg asked for a 21-year sentence for Harper. She said Harper “should be incarcerated for as long as possible.” 

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein fined him $10,504.

Goldstein ordered that Harper register as a sex offender after he is paroled. He added that Harper may eventually live in a state mental hospital once he finishes his sentence, depending on whether the DA’s office files a petition for civil commitment.

“He is predatory. He did immediately confess and saved the minor a great deal of stress,” said Goldstein.

“There was a fair amount of influence with this older guy,” said Harper’s attorney, Abram Genser, referring to Alto.

“He never really had that role model to tell him not to do this, not to do that,” said Genser. 

Genser said Harper left the area for Simi Valley. When he went to a police station, “he was fairly eager to take responsibility for his actions,” said Genser, saying he made “a full confession.”

El Cajon man gets no bail reduction

A judge ruled Jan. 2 that an El Cajon man charged with accessory after the fact to a bizarre murder should not have a reduction in his $500,000 bail.

Attorney Roland Haddad argued his client, Derrick Jefferson Spurgeon, 38, had nothing to do with putting the body of Omar Medina inside a 55-gallon oil drum and sinking it to the bottom of San Diego Bay.

Haddad noted that Spurgeon is only charged with being an accessory and co-defendant Timothy John Cook, 52, of Chula Vista, is charged with murder. The body of Medina, 28, was found Oct. 12, 2017, and Spurgeon and Cook were arrested Dec. 13.

“There is nothing that he did with the body,” said Haddad.

“Mr. Spurgeon drove the boat into the water. They disposed of it in the bay,” said Deputy District Attorney Cherie Somerville.

Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Francis Devaney denied the bail reduction, noting “the nature of the offense is outrageous.”

“He is a flight risk. He is a danger to society. Mr. Spurgeon helped to dispose of a dead body,” said Devaney. “That shows to me he is callous.”

Spurgeon had been free on $100,000 bond at the time for a separate case of transportation of illegal drugs for sale. Both he and Cook have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Medina, a music producer, was stabbed 66 times. He disappeared Sept. 30. A preliminary hearing of March 28 was set. Cook remains in jail without bail.

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