Murder suspect to represent himself in court

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An El Cajon murder suspect who is accused of killing his roommate with a baseball bat has won his request to act as his own attorney in his retrial.

Michael Patrick O’Donnell, 60, will represent himself on June 10 when his retrial will start involving the death of Richard Winslow Hobbs, 72.

The jury at his first trial deadlocked 9-3 in favor of conviction and a mistrial was declared on Sept. 5, 2018.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis granted O’Donnell’s self-representation request Feb. 8 after he was warned of the dangers of acting as his own attorney.

El Cajon Police responded to a 911 call on Oct. 13, 2015 at the residence in the 1000 block of Pine Drive. Officers found Hobbs with significant head injuries. He was rushed to a hospital where he died.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma. O’Donnell was arrested a week later.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Shim said the house was owned by Hobbs and he rented it out to O’Donnell and a woman who also lived there.

O’Donnell has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $2 million bail.

Parolee entices police into high speed chase

A parolee who had a gun in his car when he was arrested in La Mesa has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and evading police officers with reckless driving.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Carberry said Dontae Douglas Smith, 28, faces a stipulated term of five years and four months in state prison.

Smith will be sentenced on April 15 in San Diego Superior Court.

The incident took place on Dec. 20 when San Diego Police were called on a possible burglary near El Cajon Boulevard. Officers spotted Smith driving a car which matched a possible suspect, but Smith refused to pull over.

Smith led officers on a chase into La Mesa around 5 p.m., and Smith apparently struck another car without stopping. He eventually abandoned the car on Spring Street near Palm Avenue and fled into a canyon.

Officers later found Smith at a trolley station. A judge dismissed two hit and run charges, as well as an ammunition possession charge after he pleaded guilty to two other charges.

Smith was convicted of felony assault in 2016, court records show.

He remains in jail on $250,000 bail.

Woman injures husband during argument

An El Cajon woman who wounded her husband during an argument remains in compliance with her probation and has completed a 5-month residential program.

An El Cajon Superior Court judge determined in February that Theresa Marie Diedrich, 50, had provided proof of her rehab as required under terms of five years’ probation.

She pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon upon Robert Diedrich, 54, on April 2, 2018, in their home in the 1000 block of Marline Avenue in El Cajon while she was ill, according to court records.

She has finished her 270-day jail term and was ordered to pay a $1,344 fine. The judge permitted her to return to live with her husband, who was wounded in the stomach, but the injury was not life threatening.

Burglar released from jail on probation

Dontel Lamar Wallace, 29, of Lemon Grove, was released Feb. 10 from his 1-year jail term for burglary of a La Mesa couple’s home.

Wallace was arrested Aug. 11, 2018 after carrying some items from the couple’s home following an 11 p.m. break-in. He pleaded guilty to residential burglary.

A 6-year suspended prison term was imposed upon Wallace by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador. Wallace won’t have to serve the 6-year term if he follows all the requirements of three years’ probation.

A woman said she encountered Wallace in her home and she woke her husband who chased him off. La Mesa Police arrested him. No one was injured.

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