Santee brothers sentenced in death of homeless man

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Two Santee brothers were given long terms in state prison Friday for beating a homeless man to death in 2016 in the San Diego River bottom in Santee.

Austin Larry Mostrong, 22, received 20 years to life in prison for his guilty plea to second-degree murder for the slaying of George Lowery, 50, who was found hogtied and under plywood boards on April 24, 2016.

Two Santee brothers were given long terms in state prison Friday for beating a homeless man to death in 2016 in the San Diego River bottom in Santee.

Austin Larry Mostrong, 22, received 20 years to life in prison for his guilty plea to second-degree murder for the slaying of George Lowery, 50, who was found hogtied and under plywood boards on April 24, 2016.

Mostrong was given a consecutive 5-year term for his guilty plea to felony assault by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein.

Preston Autry Mostrong, 21, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Preston Mostong pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, mayhem, and inflicting great bodily injury.

Preston Mostrong could be paroled earlier than his brother because prison officials often hold inmates longer on sentences that have a “to life” as part of the term.

They have been in jail since their arrests on April 28, 2016, by the sheriff’s deputies and will likely get credit for spending one year and eight months in custody.

Austin Mostrong’s girlfriend, Hailey Suder, 18, of Santee, was only charged with accessory after the fact. She pleaded guilty Friday to the charge, and was sentenced to one day previously served in jail.

Suder’s charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and she is eligible to have the charged expunged from her record, a prosecutor said.

One brother was previously charged with injuring another homeless man several months earlier. 

When interviewed by deputies, both brothers admitted to beating Lowery. A torture charge was dismissed.

Penny Lowery found her husband unconscious and hogtied with bungee cord and fishing line underneath plywood in the river bottom near Chubb Lane and N. Magnolia Avenue. They had been married 25 years. 

Judge suspends criminal proceedings due to mental incompetence

A judge has suspended criminal proceedings against a man who is charged with killing an El Cajon man who was his former employer at an auto body shop.

A psychiatric evaluation will be obtained for Nicolas Brito Rosales, 53, after his attorney told a San Diego Superior Court judge he suspected his client was mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Rosales is charged with killing Jalal “Joe” Abou, 63, on April 19, 2011. Abou was shot to death at his business, Joe’s Auto Repair, on Rosecrans Street in Point Loma.

Rosales fled to Mexico and was believed to have been arrested by Mexican law enforcement for a crime there. He was released to U.S. Marshals in Mexico City in Sept., 2017, and brought to San Diego.

The preliminary hearing had been set for Jan. 24, but that was vacated. Rosales will be interviewed in jail by a psychiatrist who will prepare a report for a judge. 

A mentally competency hearing is set for March 2 and Rosales remains in jail without bail.

Spring Valley man pleads guilty to drug smuggling charges

Oscar Vasquez-Alamilla, 34, of Spring Valley, has pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone in his truck’s spare tire.

Vasquez-Alamilla entered his guilty pleas on four charges in U.S. District Court in San Diego and will be sentenced on March 12.

The maximum sentence is 30 years in federal prison, but federal sentencing guidelines recommend less time.

Vasquez-Alamilla held a Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Response Inspection(SENTRI) which allows for expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers upon arrival in the U.S.

SENTRI is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program. Vasquez-Alamilla used the SENTRI pass holder when he drove through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry on Sept., 26, 2017 at 12:10 p.m.

An officer noticed some anomalies in the spare tire and agents found five packages inside.

Court records said there were 7,000 oxycodone pills, 24 pounds of cocaine, 12 pounds of fentanyl, and 13 pounds of heroin.

He is a lawful permanent resident, but was told his guilty pleas would cause his deportation to Mexico after he is released.

Vasquez-Alamilla remains free on a $50,000 property bond.

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